FRIDAY, Dec. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Type 2 diabetes is associated with declines in verbal memory and fluency among older community-dwelling adults, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in Diabetologia.

Michele L. Callisaya, Ph.D., from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and colleagues examined the correlation between type 2 diabetes with brain atrophy and cognitive decline. A total of 705 participants without dementia (348 with diabetes and 357 without diabetes), aged 55 to 90 years, underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological measures at three time points during 4.6 years. Adjusting for covariates, the authors assessed longitudinal associations of type 2 diabetes with cognitive and MRI measures.

The researchers observed significant interactions between diabetes and time for verbal memory and verbal fluency (β, −0.06 and β, −0.03, respectively) after adjustment for age, sex, education, and vascular risk factors. At baseline, individuals with diabetes had lower brain and greater ventricular volumes (β, −14.273 and β, 2.672, respectively); however, researchers found no evidence that brain atrophy occurred at a greater rate over time or mediated the diabetes-cognition relationship.

“The effects of type 2 diabetes and poor metabolic health at midlife, and the impact of accrual of cerebrovascular lesions at older age, both deserve further study to inform preventative efforts against dementia,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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