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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7208429, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effect of Diabetes Medication on Cognitive Function: Evidence from the PATH Through Life Study

Centre for Research in Ageing Health and Wellbeing, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia

Received 9 February 2016; Accepted 14 March 2016

Academic Editor: Elísio Costa

Copyright © 2016 Pushpani M. Herath et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To examine the effect of diabetes treatment on change of measures of specific cognitive domains over 4 years. Research Design and Methods. The sample was drawn from a population-based cohort study in Australia (the PATH Through Life Study) and comprised 1814 individuals aged 65–69 years at first measurement, of whom 211 were diagnosed with diabetes. Cognitive function was measured using 10 neuropsychological tests. The effect of type of diabetes treatment (diet, oral hypoglycemic agents, and insulin) on measures of specific cognitive domains was assessed using Generalized Linear Models adjusted for age, sex, education, smoking, physical activity level, BMI, and hypertension. Results. Comparison of cognitive function between diabetes treatment groups showed no significant effect of type of pharmacological treatment on cognitive function compared to diet only group or no diabetes group. Of those on oral hypoglycaemic treatment only, participants who used metformin alone had better cognitive function at baseline for the domains of verbal learning, working memory, and executive function compared to participants on other forms of diabetic treatment. Conclusion. This study did not observe significant effect from type of pharmacological treatment for diabetes on cognitive function except that participants who only used metformin showed significant protective effect from metformin on domain of verbal learning, working memory, and executive function.