April 16, 2013

Brain Function after 12 years of T2D

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brain_in_T2DThe study published in Diabetes Care  investigated whether individuals with T2D would experience accelerated cognitive decline. And if so, what specific cognitive functions would be impaired.

Researchers measured the effects of diabetes on cognitive function over 12 years. The study included almost 1,300 people, aged 40 years or older.

Of the participants, 68 people had T2D at the start of the stud, and 54 people developed T2D at year 6, and 57 people developed T2D by the 12-year follow-up.

All participants had their cognitive function tested at the start of the study. It was tested again after 6 years, and again after 12 years. Cognitive function tests included information-processing speed, executive function, and verbal memory.

Participants with diabetes at the start of the study showed larger decline in information-processing speed, executive function, and delayed word recall over the 12-year follow-up compared with control subjects. No significant difference in decline was observed for immediate word recall.

People that developed diabetes over the course of the study showed subtle early decline in information-processing speed only. Interestingly, they did not show larger decline in any other cognitive domain.

T2D does catalyze cognitive function decline. Picture a fresh apple as the mind of a healthy 40 year old. Now imagine the effects T2D has on that mind over 12 years. Not pretty.

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