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Short-term memory and verbal fluency in Type 2 diabetes

Rathna Kumari Udayakumar, Anita Muthupandian.


Background: Neuropathy is common in people with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes for a long duration. Hence, it is possible that deficits in cognitive function might also be found in those who have had diabetes for a long duration. Our objective was to assess the short-term memory and verbal fluency in subjects above 40 years with Type 2 diabetes.

Aims and Objectives: The aims and objectives of this study were to determine the effect of duration of uncomplicated Type 2 diabetes on short-term memory and verbal fluency.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional comparative study was done. One hundred male participants, between 50 and 60 years of age with uncomplicated Type 2 diabetes for at least 2 years duration, were selected. They did not have any other chronic medical disorders. An informed consent was obtained. The duration of diabetes was noted from the date of the first diagnosis. The addenbrooke’s cognitive examination-revised (ACE-R) was used to evaluate short-term memory and verbal fluency. A cross-sectional comparative study was done, and the performances were based on the scores obtained. Statistical analysis was performed using the coefficient of correlation. We considered P < 0.05 to be significant.

Results: For short-term memory, the mean score obtained by the subjects was 6.35 ± 0.66, and for verbal fluency, the mean scores obtained were 7.07 ± 2.05. Duration of diabetes correlated significantly with poorer performance on short-term memory (r = −0.371) and verbal fluency (r = −0.837).

Conclusion: Within the study group, an association between duration of diabetes and short-term memory and verbal fluency was found. Early diabetics performed well, whereas those who were diabetics for a longer duration performed less well. Such changes may give us insight to the process of accelerated aging in diabetes.

Key words: Neuropathy; Type 2 Diabetes; Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination-Revised; Short-Term Memory; Verbal Fluency

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