Effects of Type 2 Diabetes on 12-Year Cognitive Change

Peggy J. J. Spauwen*, Sebastian Kohler, Frans R. J. Verhey, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Martin P. J. van Boxtel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE-To examine the effects of baseline and incident diabetes on change in cognitive function over 12 years. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-A sample of 1,290 individuals aged >= 40 years at baseline, participating in the Maastricht Aging Study, were cognitively tested at baseline, after 6 years, and after 12 years. Of these, 68 participants had type 2 diabetes at baseline, and 54 and 57 had incident diabetes at the 6- and 12-year follow-up, respectively. Changes in performance on tests of information-processing speed, executive function, and verbal memory from baseline to 6- and 12-year follow-up were compared between groups using linear mixed models. Effects of diabetes on cognitive decline were adjusted for demographic variables, history of smoking, alcohol intake, and comorbid conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, BMI, and depression. RESULTS-Participants with baseline diabetes showed larger decline in information-processing speed (estimate 7-.64; P <0.01), executive function (21.82; P <0.01), and delayed word recall (-1.35; P <0.05) over the 12-year follow-up compared with control subjects. No significant difference in decline was observed for immediate word recall. Compared with control subjects, participants with incident diabetes showed subtle early decline in information-processing speed only. Interestingly, they did not show larger decline in any other cognitive domain. CONCLUSIONS-Individuals with baseline type 2 diabetes show accelerated cognitive decline, particularly in information-processing speed and executive function, compared with individuals without diabetes. In incident diabetes, decline in speed becomes detectable first, and cognitive decline seems to increase with increasing exposure time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1554-1561
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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