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Pre-Diabetes Symptoms Not Linked to Cognitive Decline

In elderly without diabetes, high fasting glucose, insulin resistance not tied to cognitive impairment

THURSDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- In older people with no history of diabetes, insulin resistance and elevated fasting glucose levels have no association with impaired cognitive function, according to research published in the July issue of Diabetes.

Sjoerd M. Euser, Ph.D., of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data on a total of 8,447 subjects, including 5,019, aged 69 to 84, in the PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER), and 3,428, aged 61 to 97, in the Rotterdam Study. The researchers assessed fasting glucose levels at baseline, and cognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination at baseline and in follow-up in both studies. Fasting insulin levels were assessed only in the Rotterdam Study.

The researchers observed impaired cognitive function at baseline among the subjects who had diabetes. However, among the subjects without diabetes, no clear association was discerned between baseline fasting glucose levels and executive function and memory, and there was not a consistent relationship between higher baseline fasting glucose levels and the rate of cognitive decline. Insulin resistance did not appear to be associated with cognitive function and decline.

"Elevated fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance are not associated with worse cognitive function in older people without a history of diabetes. These data suggest either that there is a threshold for effects of dysglycemia on cognitive function or that factors other than hyperglycemia contribute to cognitive impairment in individuals with frank diabetes," the authors write.

The PROSPER study was supported by a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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