Older individuals with type 1 diabetes show worse cognition than control at a level similar to deficits found in individuals with type 2 diabetes, and for individuals with type 1 diabetes, there is a relationship between cognition deficits and disease complications, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.
Using 3 study cohorts that examine the cognitive function of 82 individuals with 50 or more years of insulin-dependent diabetes, this study analyzed and compared that data with 31 age-matched patients with type 2 diabetes and 30 age-matched controls. Comparisons found that both the individuals with 50 or more years of insulin-dependent diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes showed cognitive deficits when compared with controls, particularly in memory. In patients with type 1 diabetes only, having cardiovascular disease was associated with worse executive function performance and having proliferative diabetic retinopathy or diabetic nephropathy was associated with worse psychomotor speed performance.
Study investigators conclude, “[both] patients with type 1 and patients with type 2 diabetes showed overall worse cognition than control subjects. Further, in [individuals with 50 or more years of insulin-dependent diabetes], a relationship between complications and cognition was seen. Although both groups with diabetes showed similar deficit patterns, the underlying mechanisms may be different. 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.”
Musen G, Tinsley LJ, Marcinkowski KA, et al. Cognitive function deficits associated with long-duration type 1 diabetes and vascular complications [published online June 5, 2018]. Diabetes Care. doi: 10.2337/dc17-1955