Dr. †Kristine Yaffe and several other researchers studied more than 3,000 well-functioning older adults without dementia for 10 years. The average age of the men and women at the start of the study was approximately 74 years old. The scientists assessed the particpants' cognitive abilities at the beginning of the study and several times throughout the study. The scientists also identified which participants had diabetes mellitus at the onset of the study, who developed it over the years, and how well their blood sugar levels were controlled.
The following results were noted:
- At the study's onset, cognitive functioning was lower among those who already had DM than those without diabetes.
- Those who developed DM over the years experienced a greater cognitive decline than those who did not.
- Participants whose blood sugar was well-controlled over the years was experienced less of a cognitive decline than those whose blood sugars were poorly controlled.
The study's authors concluded, "Among well-functioning older adults, DM and poor glucose control among those with DM are associated with worse cognitive function and greater decline. This suggests that severity of DM may contribute to accelerated cognitive aging."
While this study does not prove conclusively that diabetes causes a decline in cognition, it does show a strong correlation between the two factors, and one that begs for continued research. Meanwhile, perhaps it serves as another motivation to continue your quest for good health through physical exercise, healthy eating and mental exercise.