Long-Term Type 1 Diabetes Associated With Cognitive Decline

Deficits similar for long-term type 1 diabetes and age-matched patients with type 2 diabetes.
Deficits similar for long-term type 1 diabetes and age-matched patients with type 2 diabetes.

HealthDay News — Both patients with type 1 and patients with type 2 diabetes show overall worse cognition than people without diabetes, according to a study published online June 5 in Diabetes Care.

Gail Musen, PhD, from Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues compared cognition in 82 individuals with 50 or more years of type 1 diabetes (Medalists), 31 age-matched individuals with type 2 diabetes, and 30 age-matched control subjects without diabetes. 

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The researchers found that, compared with control subjects, both individuals with type 1 diabetes and individuals with type 2 diabetes performed worse on immediate and delayed recall (P≤.002) and psychomotor speed in both hands (P≤.01), and showed a trend toward worse executive function (P=.05). Cardiovascular disease was associated with decreased executive function and proliferative diabetic retinopathy with slower psychomotor speed among Medalists.

"Although both groups with diabetes showed similar deficit patterns, the underlying mechanisms may be different," the authors write. "Now that patients with type 1 diabetes are living longer, efforts should be made to evaluate cognition and to identify modifying behaviors to slow decline."

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