With diabetes during the midlife period, there was a 19 percent greater cognitive decline over the next 20 years.
A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found a significant correlation between diabetes and cognitive decline. Researchers looked at diabetes during the midlife period and long-term cognitive decline over a period of 20 years. The study looked at diagnosed diabetes as well as undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and glucose control issues. Delayed word recall, digit symbol substitution, and word fluency tests were used to assess cognitive performance.
With diabetes during the midlife period, there was a 19 percent greater cognitive decline over the next 20 years. The relationship was also magnified by the severity of the condition. Participants with glucose control issues that do not rise to the level of prediabetes had a lower cognitive decline than people with prediabetes. The most severe cognitive decline was seen in participants with poorly controlled diabetes. Also, individuals that had suffered from diabetes for a long period of time had greater cognitive decline later in life.
According to Medical News Today, the results of this study indicate that poorly controlled diabetes means cognitive decline is seen about five years earlier. In order to have a healthy brain later in life, the advice is the same as for other healthy goals: eat right and exercise. This time, the research supports these healthy habits particularly for those around the age of 50. This study is especially important for reducing the burden of dementia. Preventing or delaying cognitive decline can reduce the incidence and severity of dementia.
About 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. An additional 86 million Americans have prediabetes. Preventing progression of prediabetes to diabetes and managing diabetes where it exists would be instrumental for improving health and quality of life.