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RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-A cross-sectional study of 1,066 men and women aged 60-75 years with type 2 diabetes and living in Lothian, Scotland (the Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study), was performed. Seven cognitive tests were used to measure abilities in memory, nonverbal reasoning, information processing speed, executive function, and mental flexibility. The results were used to derive a general intelligence factor (g). A vocabulary-based test was administered as an estimate of peak prior cognitive ability. Results on the cognitive tests were assessed for statistical association with inflammatory markers measured in a venous blood sample at the time of cognitive testing.
RESULTS-Higher IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels were associated with poorer age- and sex-adjusted scores on the majority of the individual cognitive tests. They were also associated with g using standardized regression coefficients -0.074 to -0.173 (P <0.05). After adjusting for vocabulary, education level, cardiovascular dysfunction, duration of diabetes, and glycemic control, R,6 remained associated with three of the cognitive tests and with g.
CONCLUSIONS-In this representative population of people with type 2 diabetes, elevated circulating levels of inflammatory markers were associated with poorer cognitive ability. IL-6 levels were also associated with estimated lifetime cognitive decline.