Diabetes is associated with increased rate of cognitive decline in questionably demented elderly

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010;29(1):68-74. doi: 10.1159/000265552. Epub 2010 Jan 30.


Background: This study examines whether the association of diabetes with the rate of cognitive decline varies according to dementia severity.

Methods: Longitudinal study on subjects residing in nursing homes and assisted living (n = 342). The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used to measure the rate of cognitive decline in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects who were nondemented (Clinical Dementia Rating, CDR = 0; n = 125), questionably demented (CDR = 0.5; n = 58) or frankly demented (CDR > or =1; n = 89) at baseline. Diagnosis of diabetes was ascertained by review of medical records and history.

Results: Diabetes was associated with an increased rate of decline in the MMSE score of questionably demented subjects (p < 0.0001). In frankly demented subjects, diabetes tended to be associated with less cognitive decline (p = 0.04). Diabetes was not associated with the rate of MMSE decline in nondemented subjects (p = 0.89).

Conclusion: In individuals with questionable dementia (CDR = 0.5), diabetes is associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline as measured by the MMSE, but not in nondemented (CDR = 0) or frankly demented (CDR > or =1) individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Diabetes Complications / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Education
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors