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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Severe Hypoglycemia Harms Cognition in Older Adults with Type 1 Diabetes

A new study from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health focuses on the association of severe hypoglycemia and cognitive function in older adults with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Mary E. Lacy, assistant professor of epidemiology, is first author of “Severe Hypoglycemia and Cognitive Function in Older Adults With Type 1 Diabetes: The Study of Longevity in Diabetes (SOLID)”, published in Diabetes Care. The investigators’ findings suggest a deleterious role of severe hypoglycemia (recent or lifetime) on the brain health of older patients with type 1 diabetes, and and highlight the importance of severe hypoglycemia prevention.

Investigators examined the association between severe hypoglycemia (SH) and cognitive function in 718 older adults with T1D from the Study of Longevity in Diabetes (SOLID). Subjects self-reported recent SH and lifetime history of SH resulting in inpatient/emergency department utilization. Global and domain-specific cognition (language, executive function, episodic memory, and simple attention) were assessed. The associations of SH with cognitive function and impaired cognition were evaluated via linear and logistic regression models, respectively. Compared with those with no SH, subjects with a recent SH history had significantly lower global cognition scores. Domain-specific analyses revealed significantly lower scores on language, executive function, and episodic memory with recent SH exposure and significantly lower executive function with lifetime SH exposure. Recent SH was associated with impaired global and cognitive impairment on the language domain. Among older adults with T1D, recent SH and lifetime SH were associated with worse cognition. Recent SH was associated with impaired global cognition.

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