Cognition and Diabetes: Examining Sex Differences Using a Longitudinal Sample of Older Adults

Res Aging. 2022 Apr 13:1640275221084282. doi: 10.1177/01640275221084282. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: This study aims to investigate sex-based differences in the diabetes status and cognition relationship using a representative sample of older Americans.

METHODS: Using a sample of 19,190 females and 15,580 males from the Health and Retirement Study, we conduct mixed-effects linear regression analyses to examine sex differences in the association between diabetes and cognition over a 20-year follow-up period among older adults in the United States.

MAIN FINDINGS: Females experience slightly steeper declines in cognition that are further exacerbated by diabetes. At age 65, females without diabetes have significantly higher cognition than males; this gap is eliminated by age 85. Among diabetics, there is no initial sex disparity, but females’ cognition becomes significantly lower than males’ over the following 20 years.

PRINCIPAL CONCLUSIONS: Relative to males, females are particularly susceptible to diabetes-related declines in cognition with increasing age.

PMID:35418264 | DOI:10.1177/01640275221084282