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Retinal Changes Linked to Cognitive Function in T1DM Patients

Structural and vascular changes detected on noninvasive retinal imaging tied to performance on tests of cognitive function


WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormalities detected on noninvasive retinal imaging are associated with markers of cognitive dysfunction in older individuals with type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online Dec. 30 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Ward Fickweiler, M.D., from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted complete cognitive testing, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and OCT angiography (OCTA) on 129 participants with 50 or more years of type 1 diabetes.

The researchers found that decreased vessel density of the superficial retinal capillary plexus and deep retinal capillary plexus was associated with worse delayed memory and dominant hand psychomotor speed. Worse psychomotor speed in both nondominant and dominant hands was associated with thinning of the retinal outer nuclear layer. Delayed memory was associated with outer plexiform layer thickness.

"These findings suggest that noninvasive retinal imaging using OCT and OCTA may assist in estimating the risks for cognitive dysfunction in people with type 1 diabetes," the authors write.

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