Diabetic Status and Cognitive Decline

Diabetic Status and Cognitive Decline

The journal of Diabetologia recently published a study showing a positive correlation between diabetes and cognitive decline. Diabetes has proven to have severe effects on a person’s physical health but researchers were interested at looking into possibility of the impact on mental health. The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not diabetic status had an impact on brain function over a prolonged amount of time and, if so, to what extent.

In order to do this, researchers gathered around 5,000 participants including people with normal blood sugar levels and those with prediabetic and diabetic levels. Over the course of 8 years, participants’ cognitive abilities were evaluated and reassessed every 2 years through a series of tests meant to track overall cognitive function. In order to determine a correlation, results were recorded and then compared between the different groups of people taking part in the study (normal blood sugar levels vs. diabetic range blood sugar levels).

Results and Takeaway

The results showed that those with prediabetes and diabetes had steeper and faster cognitive decline reflected in diminished cognitive scores including memory and processing speed; in comparison to those with normal blood sugar levels who only displayed a natural decrease due to age. Researchers were most surprised that participants with prediabetes showed to have a decline almost as steep with those who were diagnosed as diabetic. They determined that solely falling in the prediabetic range can have a significant impact on the brain’s function in the long term.

The results also reinforce the importance of blood sugar monitoring for management of diabetes.  Positive lifestyle changes, including diet, weight loss and exercise, can have a positive effect on prevention and management of diabetes.  It is currently one of the few interventions that can have a positive impact on a known risk factor for cognitive decline.

DiSalvo, David. (2018, January 28). “Study Shows Long-Term Effects of Diabetes and Prediabetes on the Brain”. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/01/28/study-shows-how-diabetes-and-prediabetes-impact-your-brain-over-time/#2cb9efb81c43