South African Medical Journal

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Executive cognitive impairment detected by simple bedside testing is associated with poor glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes

H de Wet, N Levitt, B Tipping


Aims. Cognitive impairment in people with type 2 diabetes is a barrier to successful disease management. We sought to determine whether impaired executive function as detected by a battery of simple bedside cognitive tests of executive function
was associated with inadequate glycaemic control.
Methods. People with type 2 diabetes attending a tertiary referral diabetic clinic who consented to participate in the study underwent a brief battery of cognitive testing (the
Bedside Executive Screening Test) designed to detect executive function impairment. Glycaemic control was determined using blood glycated haemoglobin levels (HBA1c). Inadequate glycaemic control was defined as HBA1c ≥7%. Results. Executive function impairment was detected in 51 (52%) of the 98 study participants. The presence of executive function impairment was significantly associated with poor glycaemic control (HBA1c ≥7%) (odds ratio 4.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3 - 18.8, p=0.019). There were no significant differences between patients with and without executive
function impairment with regard to age, target organ damage, patient reported adherence, and hypoglycaemic therapy. Patients with a lower level of education were more likely to demonstrate executive impairment when glycaemic control was poor (p=0.013).
Conclusions. Executive function impairment is common in a population of people with difficult-to-manage type 2 diabetes. The presence of executive impairment is significantly
associated with poor glycaemic control.

South African Medical Journal Vol. 97 (11) 2007: pp. 1074-1076

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