HbA1c, diabetes and cognitive decline: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing




Fanfan Zheng & Li Yan & Zhenchun Yang & Baoliang Zhong & Wuxiang Xie


The aim of the study was to evaluate longitudinal associations between HbA1c levels, diabetes status and subsequent cognitive decline over a 10 year follow-up period.

Data from wave 2 (2004–2005) to wave 7 (2014–2015) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) were analysed. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline (wave 2) and reassessed every 2 years at waves 3–7. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate longitudinal associations.

The study comprised 5189 participants (55.1% women, mean age 65.6 ± 9.4 years) with baseline HbA1c levels ranging from 15.9 to 126.3 mmol/mol (3.6–13.7%). The mean follow-up duration was 8.1 ± 2.8 years and the mean number of cognitive assessments was 4.9 ± 1.5. A 1 mmol/mol increment in HbA1c was significantly associated with an increased rate of decline in global cognitive z scores (−0.0009 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0014, −0.0003), memory z scores (−0.0005 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0009, −0.0001) and executive function z scores (−0.0008 SD/year, 95% CI −0.0013, −0.0004) after adjustment for baseline age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, BMI, education, marital status, depressive symp- toms, current smoking, alcohol consumption, hypertension, CHD, stroke, chronic lung disease and cancer. Compared with participants with normoglycaemia, the multivariable-adjusted rate of global cognitive decline associated with prediabetes and diabetes was increased by −0.012 SD/year (95% CI −0.022, −0.002) and −0.031 SD/year (95% CI −0.046, −0.015), respectively (p for trend


December 8, 2017

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