Abstract / Description of output
We examined the individual and synergistic effects of type 2 diabetes and elevated depressive symptoms on memory and executive function trajectories over 10 and eight years of follow-up, respectively. Our sample comprised 10,524 community-dwellers aged ≥50 years in 2002–03 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. With respect to memory (word recall), participants with either diabetes or elevated depressive symptoms recalled significantly fewer words compared with those free of these conditions (reference category), but more words compared with those with both conditions. There was a significant acceleration in the rate of memory decline in participants aged 50–64 years with both conditions (-0.27, 95% CI, -0.45 to -0.08, per study wave), which was not observed in those with either condition or aged ≥65 years. With respect to executive function (animal naming), participants aged ≥65 years with diabetes or those with elevated depressive symptoms named significantly fewer animals compared with the reference category, while those with both conditions named fewer animals compared with any other category. The rate of executive function decline was significantly greater in participants with both conditions (-0.54, 95% CI, -0.99 to -0.10; and –0.71, 95% CI, -1.16 to -0.27, per study wave, for those aged 50–64 and ≥65 years, respectively), but not in participants with either condition. Diabetes and elevated depressive symptoms are inversely associated with memory and executive function, but, individually, do not accelerate cognitive decline. The co-occurrence of diabetes and elevated depressive symptoms significantly accelerates cognitive decline over time, especially among those aged 50–64 years.