Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), diabetes and trajectories of change in episodic memory performance.

TitleGlycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), diabetes and trajectories of change in episodic memory performance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPappas, C, Andel, R, Infurna, FJ, Seetharaman, S
JournalJ Epidemiol Community Health
Date Published2017 02
ISSN Number1470-2738
KeywordsAged, cognitive aging, Demography, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Glycated Hemoglobin A, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Memory, Episodic, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, United States

BACKGROUND: As the ageing population grows, it is important to identify strategies to moderate cognitive ageing.

OBJECTIVE: We examined glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and diabetes in relation to level and change in episodic memory in older adults with and without diabetes.

METHODS: Data from 4419 older adults with (n=950) and without (n=3469) diabetes participating in a nationally representative longitudinal panel study (the Health and Retirement Study) were examined. Average baseline age was 72.66 years and 58% were women. HbA1c was measured in 2006 and episodic memory was measured using immediate and delayed list recall over 4 biennial waves between 2006 and 2012. Growth curve models were used to assess trajectories of episodic memory change.

RESULTS: In growth curve models adjusted for age, sex, education, race, depressive symptoms and waist circumference, higher HbA1c levels and having diabetes were associated with poorer baseline episodic memory (p=0.036 and <0.001, respectively) and greater episodic memory decline (p=0.006 and 0.004, respectively). The effect of HbA1c on episodic memory decline was smaller than the effect of age. The results were stronger for women than men and were not modified by age or race. When the main analyses were estimated for those with and without diabetes separately, HbA1c was significantly linked to change in episodic memory only among those with diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher HbA1c and diabetes were both associated with declines in episodic memory, with this relationship further exacerbated by having diabetes and elevated HbA1c. HbA1c appeared more important for episodic memory performance among women than men.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalJ Epidemiol Community Health
Citation Key8573
PubMed ID27440936
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States