Cognitive impairment may precede type 2 diabetes
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Impaired cognitive function at age 11 appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, a study indicates.
"Type 2 diabetes is associated with decreased cognitive function in adults, particularly among elderly people," Dr. Gunilla M. Olsson, of Uppsala University, Sweden, and colleagues write in the medical journal Diabetes Care. "Less is known about cognitive function in children who will subsequently receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in adulthood."
The researchers analyzed the general ability and reading comprehension at age 11 years of some 9000 members of a 1958 UK birth cohort in relation to a subsequent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
The subjects with type 2 diabetes by 42 years of age had significantly lower assessment scores at age 11 years, the investigators found.
There are several possible explanations for this association. "It is possible that cognitive deficits present in childhood influence lifestyle factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes," Olsson and colleagues suggest.
Another possibility is that poorly controlled blood glucose levels "may influence both cognitive development and the risk of type 2 diabetes."
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2008.