Cognitive functioning and structural brain abnormalities in people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus

B. Mankovsky*, N. Zherdova, E. van den Berg, G. -J. Biessels, J. de Bresser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Web of Science)


Aims Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but the underlying structural brain correlates are uncertain. This study examined the association between cognitive functioning and structural brain abnormalities in people with long-standing Type 2 diabetes. Methods Ninety-three people with Type 2 diabetes (age 62.3 +/- 5.4 years, diabetes duration 9.7 +/- 6.7 years; HbA(1c) 65 +/- 10 mmol/mol, 8.1 +/- 1.3%) were included. Cognitive functioning was assessed by a test battery covering the domains memory, processing speed and executive functioning. Brain tissue volumes and white matter hyperintensity volumes were automatically determined on MRI. Linear regression analyses were performed adjusted for age, sex and education. Results In people with Type 2 diabetes, increased white matter hyperintensity volume was associated with decreased processing speed [regression B coefficient = -0.22 (-0.38 to -0.06), P = 0.009], but not with memory or executive function (P > 0.05). Brain tissue volumes were not significantly related to cognitive functioning (P > 0.05). Conclusions What's new? ? In people with long-standing, less strictly controlled Type 2 diabetes, white matter hyperintensities volumes were associated with decreased processing speed. This suggests that cerebral small vessel disease is an underlying disease mechanism of cognitive dysfunction in these individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1670
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding sources
The study was performed under the grant from EFSD Collaborative Program ‘New Horizons’.


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