Background: As people with diabetes mellitus suffer from peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, we thought it possible that deficits in cognitive function might also be found. Our objective was to compare the cognitive function of elderly persons with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) with a matched sample of persons without NIDDM:
Methods: Ninety outpatients over 50 years of age with NIDDM and 90 matched nondiabetic patients were recruited for the study. The Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) and the Delayed Word Recall (DWR) test were used to assess cognitive function.
Results: On the 3MS test, the mean score of persons with NIDDM was 75.6, and that of nondiabetic persons was 79.5 (two-tailed t = 3.04, P = .013). On the DWR, the mean score of persons with NIDDM was 3.9, and that of persons without NIDDM was 4.7 (two-tailed t = 3.52, P = .012).
Conclusions: Persons with NIDDM had significantly poorer scores on two tests of cognitive function. Physicians should be aware of this association between type II diabetes and a small but definite impairment of cognitive function.