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Diabetes and Memory
September 2002

Q. I am a 32-year-old female. Two years ago I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. Since then, I've noticed that my short-term memory isn't as good as it used to be. I forget things all the time. Has there been any research on memory impairment and diabetes or insulin injections?

A. There is indeed research in this area. Although diabetes is known as a "sugar" impairment, the abnormalities affect blood circulation to all major organs. Target organs such as the heart, brain, eye, and kidney can age prematurely due to diabetes. It is generally agreed that the better the control of diabetes, the greater chance of delaying or preventing these effects. Work with your doctor to achieve optimal results. Several studies listed below document difficulties with memory as you describe, some due to poor diabetes control, and others due to long-term results of the disease.

http://www.diabetes.org/

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/diabetes/diabetes.htm

Research articles available through a hospital or medical school library:

Glucose regulation and brain aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2000;4(4):208-13.

Changes in cognitive abilities over a 4-year period are unfavorably affected in elderly diabetic subjects: results of the Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study. Diabetes Care. 2001 Feb;24(2):366-70.

Glucose and mental performance. Br J Nutr. 2001 Aug;86(2):117-8.

Cognitive function and information processing in type 2 diabetes. Diabet Med. 2001 Oct;18(10):803-10.

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