Poor diabetes control may increase risk of cognitive decline
June 20, 2012
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that diabetes mellitus (DM) and poor blood glucose control may drive cognitive decline among senior citizens who are free of dementia.
This conclusion is based on a study of more than 3,000 individuals, who had an average age of about 74. At the start of the experiment, 23 percent of individuals had diabetes.
Over the course of 10 years, the research participants took the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), which are two evaluations for neurological function.
Results showed that at the start of the study, subjects who had diabetes had worse 3MS and DSST compared to individuals who did not have the metabolic condition. Participants in the former category also experienced a more significant rate of cognitive decline during the research period.
Other results showed that higher levels of HbA1c among diabetics were associated with lower 3MS and DSST scores. However, the impact on DSST disappeared after adjusting for certain factors, including age, sex, race and education levels.
"This study supports the hypothesis that older adults with DM have reduced cognitive function and that poor glycemic control may contribute to this association," the authors wrote in the Archives of Neurology. "Future studies should determine if early diagnosis and treatment of DM lessen the risk of developing cognitive impairment and if maintaining optimal glucose control helps mitigate the effect of DM on cognition."