The mediating role of comorbid conditions in the association between type 2 diabetes and cognition: a cross-sectional observational study using the UK Biobank cohort

Whitelock, Victoria, Rutters, Femke, Rijnhart, Judith J. M., Nouwen, Arie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0609-4082 and Higgs, Suzanne (2021) The mediating role of comorbid conditions in the association between type 2 diabetes and cognition: a cross-sectional observational study using the UK Biobank cohort. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 123 , 104902. ISSN 0306‐4530 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104902)

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Abstract

Aims: Using the UK Biobank cohort, a large sample of middle aged and older adults in the UK, the present study aimed to examine the cross-sectional association between type 2 diabetes and cognition and to assess the hypothesised mediating role of common comorbid conditions, whilst controlling for important demographic and lifestyle factors.

Methods: Using regression models and general structural equation models, we examined the cross-sectional association between type 2 diabetes status and: fluid intelligence; reaction time; visual memory; digit span and prospective memory; and the hypothesised mediating role of common comorbid conditions: visceral obesity; sleep problems; macrovascular problems; respiratory problems,; cancer and depressive symptoms in 47,468 participants from the UK Biobank cohort, of whom 1,831 have type 2 diabetes. We controlled for ethnicity, sex, age, deprivation, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity levels and use of diabetes medication.

Results: Participants with type 2 diabetes had a significantly shorter digit span, b = -0.14, 99.2% CIs [-0.27, -0.11] than those without type 2 diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes did not differ from those without type 2 diabetes on fluid intelligence, reaction time, visual memory and prospective memory. The associations that do exist between type 2 diabetes and cognition are consistently mediated via macrovascular problems, depressive symptoms, and to a lesser extent visceral obesity. Respiratory problems, sleep disturbances and cancer did not mediate the association between type 2 diabetes status and measures of cognition.

Conclusions: Comorbid conditions explain some of the observed association between type 2 diabetes and cognitive deficits. This suggests that prevention, management or treatment of these comorbid conditions may be important to reduce the likelihood of cognitive decline. Treatment studies with long follow-ups are needed to examine this.

Tweet: Comorbid conditions explain the association between type 2 diabetes and cognitive deficits. Prevention, management or treatment of these comorbid conditions may prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline in people with type 2 diabetes.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 31041
Notes on copyright: Published version: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Arie Nouwen
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2020 15:44
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2021 15:12
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/31041

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