Welcome to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts!

"Johns Hopkins Health Alerts is an excellent site and I have recommended it to several of my friends. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!"
  • - D. Ambrosio

This free public service from Johns Hopkins Medicine helps keep you up to date on the latest breakthroughs for the most common medical conditions which prevent healthy aging.

Get the latest news sent straight to your inbox for FREE. Check all the boxes below for the topics that interest you.
We value your privacy and will never rent your email address

Johns Hopkins Health Alert

Diabetes and Memory Impairment

Comments (0)

Data from two recent research studies link diabetes and poor glycemic control with reduced memory function.

  • Blood Sugar Swings Linked to Poorer Cognition

    The link between type 2 diabetes and poorer cognitive functioning may be due to wide swings in post-meal (postprandial) blood sugar (glucose) levels, an Italian study suggests.


    Researchers studied 156 older people with type 2 diabetes. The participants were between the ages of 60 and 78 and were taking either repaglinide (Prandin) or glyburide (DiaBeta and other brands) for their diabetes. Those whose glucose levels varied widely after they ate performed worse on cognitive tests than those who maintained tighter control over their blood sugar. This association persisted after the researchers adjusted for such factors as physical activity, obesity, and blood pressure. The results also showed that repaglinide was associated with less postprandial glucose variability than glyburide.

    A number of previous studies have examined the link between type 2 diabetes and impaired cognitive function. Diabetes and poor overall glucose control have also been found to increase the risk of developing dementia. These results strengthen the argument that better control of blood sugar benefits the brain -- just as it benefits the heart, eyes, and kidneys. This study was reported in the journal Neurology (Volume 67, page 235).

  • Tighter Blood Sugar Control Improves Memory

    People with type 2 diabetes have a higher than average risk of memory loss as they age, according to a study reported in the journal Diabetes Care (Volume 29, page 345). But can improving control of blood glucose safeguard memory?

    To find out, researchers enrolled 145 men and women with type 2 diabetes in a six-month study. All of these diabetes patients were initially taking metformin (Glucophage) yet had modestly elevated HbA1c levels. (HbA1c is a measure of blood sugar control over time.)

    Each diabetes patient then added a new diabetes drug to his or her daily regimen, either rosiglitazone (Avandia) or glyburide (DiaBeta and other brands). The diabetes patients took various tests of memory and mental speed at the beginning and end of the study.

    After six months, study subjects taking either drug had lowered their HbA1c to below 8%, on average. (The goal is below 7%.) When retested, members of both groups made 25–31% fewer errors in tests designed to measure working memory, the short-term memory needed to perform daily tasks.

    For both rosiglitazone and glyburide, the magnitude of memory improvement was related to the extent of blood glucose control. This study also offers strong evidence that maintaining better blood glucose control leads to sharper wits -- a fact worth remembering.

    Posted in Diabetes on November 29, 2007
    Reviewed September 2011

    Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer

    Notify Me

    Would you like us to inform you when we post new Diabetes Health Alerts?

    Post a Comment


    Health Alerts registered users may post comments and share experiences here at their own discretion. We regret that questions on individual health concerns to the Johns Hopkins editors cannot be answered in this space.

    The views expressed here do not constitute medical advice, and do not represent the position of Johns Hopkins Medicine or Remedy Health Media, LLC, which has no responsibility for any comments posted on this site.

    Post a Comment

    Already a subscriber?


    Forgot your password?

    New to Johns Hopkins Health Alerts?

    Register to submit your comments.

    (example: yourname@domain.com)

    Customer Service

    Registered Users Log-in:

    Forgot Password?

    Become a Registered User!
    It's fast and FREE!
    The Benefits of Being a Registered User

    Johns Hopkins Diabetes Bestsellers

    Johns Hopkins White Papers

      2014 Diabetes White Paper

      The Diabetes White Paper teaches you how to manage Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and avoid complications, such as nerve damage, heart disease, kidney failure, and retinopathy. This comprehensive report explains the basics of how your body metabolizes glucose and reviews the latest medications and tools for monitoring your blood glucose. Includes diagrams, glossary, and recent research. 96 pages.

      Read more or order now

    Related Titles:

    • 2014 Vision White Paper
      Written by Dr. Susan B. Bressler, professor of ophthalmology at the acclaimed Wilmer Eye Institute, and a team of top Johns Hopkins doctors, this comprehensive report is essential reading for anyone affected by a vision disorder, including low vision, cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. 88 pages.
      Read more or order now
    • 2014 Heart Attack Prevention White Paper
      While heart attack remains the leading cause of death in America, Johns Hopkins specialists have identified a number of steps that can dramatically lower your risk. The Heart Attack Prevention White Paper contains potentially lifesaving strategies for the millions of people with high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), weight control issues, a sedentary lifestyle, and other known risk factors for heart attack. 88 pages.
      Read more or order now
    • 2014 Coronary Heart Disease White Paper
      The Coronary Heart Disease White Paper reports on the latest life-saving advances for your heart health, to help you prevent or treat coronary heart disease. Topics include preventing first heart attacks; heart attack recovery and its effects on your overall lifestyle and health; preventing a second heart attack; angina; cardiac arrhythmias; and congestive heart failure. 96 pages.
      Read more or order now
    • 2014 Hypertension & Stroke White Paper
      High blood pressure, or hypertension, gives few warning signs before it erupts with major complications, such as a stroke. Fortunately, in most cases the condition can be easily detected during a regular check up and can usually be controlled with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. In the Hypertension & Stroke White Paper, experts at Johns Hopkins explain what you can do to manage high blood pressure in order to prevent stroke, and much more important information. 96 pages.
      Read more or order now

    Health Topic Pages

    • Health Alert
    • Special Report

    What is this?