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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006 Mar;54(3):496-501.

Executive dysfunction in homebound older people with diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Research Center, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.



To describe patterns of cognitive deficits and activities of daily living (ADLs) in older people with diabetes mellitus.


Cross-sectional, population-based study.


Three homecare agency areas in Boston, Massachusetts.


Two hundred ninety-one homebound people aged 60 and older; 40% with diabetes mellitus.


Demographic data; evidence of diabetes mellitus and other diseases; Mini-Mental State Examination and tests of memory and executive function; ADLs.


Executive and visuospatial functions were more impaired in individuals with diabetes mellitus than in those without, as assessed using Block Design (mean score+/-standard deviation 17.1+/-8.6 vs 20.5+/-9.6, P=.003) and Trails B (median seconds to accomplish the task: 255 vs 201, P=.03). For memory, word retention score was lower in those with diabetes mellitus than without (39.1+/-28.9 vs 48.0+/-29.7, P=.01), but the other memory tests did not show a difference between these two subgroups. More individuals with diabetes mellitus suffered from depressive symptoms than those without (55% vs 42%, P=.03). The ADL scores of those with diabetes mellitus were higher than those without.


The pattern of cognitive deficits in people with diabetes mellitus suggests frontal-subcortical dysfunction, as seen in microvascular disease of the brain. The impairment in ADLs may be associated with this executive dysfunction, which cerebral microvascular disease in diabetes mellitus may cause.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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