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Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neurol. 2011;2011:723434. doi: 10.1155/2011/723434. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Diabetic peripheral microvascular complications: relationship to cognitive function.

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Institute of Postgraduate Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PH, UK.


Peripheral microvascular complications in diabetes are associated with concurrent cerebrovascular disease. As detailed cognitive assessment is not routinely carried out among diabetic patients, the aim was to establish whether the presence of clinical "peripheral" microvascular disease can identify a subgroup of patients with early evidence of cognitive impairment. Detailed psychometric assessment was performed in 23 diabetic patients with no microvascular complications (Group D), 27 diabetic patients with at least one microvascular complication: retinopathy, neuropathy, and/or nephropathy (Group DC), and 25 healthy controls (Group H). Groups D and DC participants had significantly lower scores on reaction time (P = 0.003 and 0.0001, resp.) compared to controls. Similarly, groups D and DC participants had significantly lower scores on rapid processing of visual information (P = 0.034 and 0.001, resp.) compared to controls. In contrast, there was no significant difference between Groups D and DC on any of the cognitive areas examined. The results show that diabetes, in general, is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but the additional presence of peripheral microvascular disease does not add to cognitive decline. The study, however, indirectly supports the notion that the aetiology of cognitive impairment in diabetes may not be restricted to vascular pathology.

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