INTRODUCTION: The incidence of both type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing. Life expectancy is improving in T1D, resulting in a growing population of elderly adults with diabetes. While it is well established that older adults with T2D are at increased risk of cognitive impairment, little is known regarding cognitive aging in T1D and how their cognitive profiles may differ from T2D. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We compared baseline cognitive function and low cognitive function by diabetes status (n=734 T1D, n=232 T2D, n=247 without diabetes) among individuals from the Study of Longevity in Diabetes (mean age=68). We used factor analysis to group cognition into five domains and a composite measure of total cognition. Using linear and logistic regression models, we examined the associations between diabetes type and cognitive function, adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, depression, and sleep quality. RESULTS: T1D was associated with lower scores on total cognition, language, executive function/psychomotor processing speed, and verbal episodic memory, and greater odds of low executive function/psychomotor processing speed (OR=2.99, 95% CI 1.66 to 5.37) and verbal episodic memory (OR=1.92, 95% CI 1.07 to 3.46), compared with those without diabetes. T2D was associated with lower scores on visual episodic memory. Compared with T2D, T1D was associated with lower scores on verbal episodic memory and executive function/psychomotor processing speed and greater odds of low executive function/psychomotor processing speed (OR=1.74, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.92). CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with T1D had significantly poorer cognition compared with those with T2D and those without diabetes even after accounting for a range of comorbidities. Future studies should delineate how to reduce risk in this vulnerable population who are newly surviving to old age.
- diabetes mellitus, type 1
- diabetes mellitus, type 2
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism