Depressive Symptoms Longitudinally Mediate the Effect of Hyperglycemia on Memory Decline in Type 2 Diabetes.

TitleDepressive Symptoms Longitudinally Mediate the Effect of Hyperglycemia on Memory Decline in Type 2 Diabetes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsA Kraal, Z, Ellingrod, VL, Zahodne, LB
JournalDiabetes Care
ISSN Number1935-5548

OBJECTIVE: We sought to examine the mediating role of changes in depressive symptoms in the association between chronic hyperglycemia and longitudinal cognition in a sample of older adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal mediation analysis using structural equation modeling of observational data collected over 6 years from 2,155 participants with T2D (aged ≥51 years) in the U.S.-wide Health and Retirement Study. T2D was defined using self-reported diagnosis, and HbA1c was assessed at study baseline. Self-reported depressive symptoms were assessed at two time points 4 years apart. Episodic memory was measured using a list-learning test administered at three time points over 6 years. We adjusted for sociodemographics, chronic health comorbidities, medication adherence, study enrollment year, and prior years' depressive symptoms and memory scores.

RESULTS: At baseline, participants' mean age was 69.4 (SD = 9.1), mean HbA1c was 7.2% (SD = 1.4%), 55.0% were women, 19.3% were non-Latina/o Black, and 14.0% were Latina/o. Higher baseline levels of HbA1c were associated with increases in depressive symptoms over 4 years, which, in turn, were associated with poorer memory 2 years later. Depressive symptoms accounted for 19% of the longitudinal effect of HbA1c on memory over the 6-year period. Sensitivity analyses ruled out alternative directions of associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Incident elevations in depressive symptoms mediated the longitudinal association between hyperglycemia and 6-year episodic memory scores. For older adults with T2D, interventions to prevent HbA1c-related incident depressive symptoms may be beneficial in reducing the neurotoxic effects of chronic hyperglycemia on cognition.

Citation Key13457
PubMed ID37490632