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Relationships Between Hyperglycemia and Cognitive Performance

Authors: Daniel J. Cox, PHD, Boris P. Kovatchev, PHD, Linda A. Gonder-Frederick, PHD, Kent H. Summers, PHD, Anthony McCall, MD, PHD, Kevin J. Grimm, MA and William L. Clarke, MD From the University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia
Source: Diabetes Care, Vol. 28, January 2005

Relationships Between Hyperglycemia and Cognitive Performance Among Adults With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

OBJECTIVE-Hyperglycemia is a common event among patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. While the cognitive-motor slowing associated with hypoglycemia is well documented, the acute effects of hyperglycemia have not been studied extensively, despite patients' reports of negative effects. This study prospectively and objectively assessed the effects of hyperglycemia on cognitive-motor functioning in subjects' natural environment.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-Study 1 investigated 105 adults with type 1 diabetes (mean age 37 years and mean duration of diabetes 20 years), study 2 investigated 36 adults with type 2 diabetes (mean age 50 years and mean duration of diabetes 10 years), and study 3 investigated 91 adults with type 1 diabetes (mean age 39 years and mean duration of diabetes 20 years). Subjects used a hand-held computer for 70 trials over 4 weeks, which required them to complete various cognitive-motor tasks and then measure and enter their current blood glucose reading.

RESULTS-Hyperglycemia (blood glucose >15 mmol/l) was associated with slowing of all cognitive performance tests (P < 0.02) and an increased number of mental subtraction errors for both type 1 and type 2 diabetic subjects. The effects of hyperglycemia were highly individualized, impacting 50% of the subjects.

CONCLUSIONS-Acute hyperglycemia is not a benign event for many individuals with diabetes, but it is associated with mild cognitive dysfunction.

Abbreviations: HHC, hand-held computer " PSAT, Paced Serial Addition Test " SMBG, self-monitoring of blood glucose


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