Cognitive dysfunction in type 1 and type 2 diabetes share many similarities, but important differences do exist. A primary distinguishing feature of type 2 diabetes is that people with this disorder often (but not invariably) do poorly on measures of learning and memory, whereas deficits in these domains are rarely seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Chronic hyperglycaemia and microvascular disease contribute to cognitive dysfunction in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and both disorders are associated with mental and motor slowing and decrements of similar magnitude on measures of attention and executive functioning. Additionally, both types are characterised by neural slowing, increased cortical atrophy, microstructural abnormalities in white matter tracts, and similar, but not identical, changes in concentrations of brain neurometabolites. Disconcertingly, the rapid rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes in all age groups might result in a substantial increase in prevalence of diabetes-related cognitive dysfunction.
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