Several studies have documented an increased incidence of dementia among diabetic patients. In addition, impaired glucose regulation in both, younger and older adults, has been shown to be associated with neuropsychological deficits, particularly of episodic memory. The main purpose of this study was to examine this association in a large sample of young nondiabetic adults. All participants underwent a glucose tolerance test together with measures of insulin levels and lipids. Regression analyses revealed that glucoregulatory indices based on evoked glucose levels were significantly associated with the verbal memory performance of 122 young adults, independent of demographic and vascular risk factors. Participants were assessed after drinking glucose or saccharin, using a repeated-measures design. There was no effect of glucose on cognitive performance. Glucoregulatory indices calculated on the basis of insulin levels or fasting glucose levels explained less cognitive variability compared to indices based on evoked glucose levels. Cardiovascular risk factors were associated with hyperinsulinemia but these factors were not associated with cognitive performance in this young adult group. These findings suggest that cognitive decrements are observable in young, nondiabetic adults, prior to the onset of impaired glucose regulation and diabetes.
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