Type 2 diabetes mellitus contributes to cognitive decline in old age: a longitudinal population-based study

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2004 Jul;10(4):599-607. doi: 10.1017/S1355617704104165.


We examined change in neuropsychological test performance related to type 2 diabetes mellitus across a 6-year interval. A population-based sample of 274 elderly participants (36 with diabetes and 238 without diabetes) was examined at four occasions at a 2-year interval. The participants were 80-93 years of age (M = 82.8 years) and without dementia at baseline. The test battery included tests of speed, visuospatial ability, short-term memory, semantic memory, episodic memory, and the Mini Mental Status Examination. Several models, taking into account diabetes and demographic data, were analyzed using SAS Proc Mixed multilevel modeling. At baseline, there were no significant differences in the neuropsychological tests related to diabetes. The longitudinal analyses, however, showed that diabetes was a significant predictor of decline for many of the tests. These findings points to the conclusion that type 2 diabetes is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in old age that may result in dementia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors