OBJECTIVE The temporal pattern of cognitive and functional change before and after incident diabetes remains unknown.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Data from wave 2 to wave 9 (2004–2018) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing were used. Global cognition (assessed by orientation, memory, and executive function) and daily functioning (calculated as the sum of impaired basic and instrumental activities of daily living) were measured in each wave. Incident diabetes was defined as glycated hemoglobin A1c ‡6.5% (47.5 mmol/mol), self-reported doctor diagnosis of diabetes, or glucose-lowering medication use during follow-up.
RESULTS Among the 6,342 participants included, 576 participants with incident diabetes were identified during a median follow-up of 13.3 years. The annual rates of change in global cognition, orientation, memory, and executive function were accelerated after diabetes diagnosis compared with before the event. The postdiabetes annual changes in daily functioning were also accelerated compared with the prediabetes diagnosis. However, the rate of cognitive and functional decline before the diabetes diagnosis in participants with future incident diabetes was similar to the rate in participants without diabetes. Also, no significant acute change was observed during its onset.
CONCLUSIONS Incident diabetes is associated with accelerated cognitive and functional decline after, but not before, the event. We suggest careful monitoring for cognitive and physical dysfunction after a diabetes diagnosis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: Acknowledgments. The authors thank the staff and the participants of the ELSA study. Funding. This work was supported by the Research Project of Changning District Health Committee of Shanghai Municipality, China (20214Y032) to H.G. and the Domestic Cooperation Project of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, China (20015800300) to D.S. K.W. was supported by a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council.
Publisher Copyright: © 2022 by the American Diabetes Association.
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