Food and Behaviour Research

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Cognitive impairment is correlated with insulin resistance degree: the "PA-NICO-study"

Fava A1, Colica C2, Plastino M3, Messina D3,4, Cristiano D3, Opipari C3, Vaccaro A3, Gorgone G3, Bosco F5, Fratto A3, De Bartolo M6, Bosco D (2017) Metab Brain Dis.  2017 Feb 23.  doi: 10.1007/s11011-017-9977-4. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Several epidemiological studies have shown that Diabetes Mellitus (DM) or Insulin Resistance (IR) increases the risk of dementia. Besides, some authors suggested that poor glucose control to be associated with worse cognitive function. We aimed to assess cognitive functions and IR-degree over time in diabetic. We also evaluated whether a greater magnitude of cognitive decline could be related with their IR degree.

We enrolled 335 diabetic patients and 142 non-diabetic subjects; participants were subdivided into three groups in accordance with their IRdegree assessed by Homa-Index (HI): Normal-HI (non-diabetic NHI < 2,6), Moderate-HI (MHI > 2,6 < 10) and High-HI (HHI > 10). Metabolic status and a comprehensive neuropsycological test battery (MMSE, ADAS-Cog, ACDS-ADL) were assessed at baseline and every 12-months during the follow-up (6,8 years).

At the end of the study, the average MMSE decreased significantly in patients of HHI group (P = .001) compared to baseline. MMSE scores were also reduced both in MHI group and in controls, but the difference between two groups was not significant. In HHI group, similar effects were observed for the ADAS-Cog score compared to baseline (P = 0.001); instead, when ACDS-ADL was evaluated, no differences was observed among the three groups. These results remained unchanged also after adjustment for confounding variables (i.e. APOε-status, sex, BMI, education level, heart diseases and HbA1c).

We suggest that higher IR-degree is associated with greater cognitive decline in diabetic patients; so we hypothesize that IR degree, more than IR status itself, could be related to the severity of cognitive impairment.