Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2011, Article ID 723434, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Diabetic Peripheral Microvascular Complications: Relationship to Cognitive Function

1Institute of Postgraduate Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PH, UK
2Research Design Service, South West, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter EX2 5DW, Devon, UK
3Cognitive Treatment & Research Unit, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Crowborough, E. Sussex TN6 1NY, UK

Received 20 July 2011; Revised 18 September 2011; Accepted 28 September 2011

Academic Editor: Deborah Mash

Copyright © 2011 Lorraine Ba-Tin 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.


Peripheral microvascular complications in diabetes are associated with concurrent cerebrovascular disease. As detailed cognitive assessment is not routinely carried out among diabetic patients, the aim was to establish whether the presence of clinical “peripheral” microvascular disease can identify a subgroup of patients with early evidence of cognitive impairment. Detailed psychometric assessment was performed in 23 diabetic patients with no microvascular complications (Group D), 27 diabetic patients with at least one microvascular complication: retinopathy, neuropathy, and/or nephropathy (Group DC), and 25 healthy controls (Group H). Groups D and DC participants had significantly lower scores on reaction time ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 3 and 0.0001, resp.) compared to controls. Similarly, groups D and DC participants had significantly lower scores on rapid processing of visual information ( 𝑃 = 0 . 0 3 4 and 0.001, resp.) compared to controls. In contrast, there was no significant difference between Groups D and DC on any of the cognitive areas examined. The results show that diabetes, in general, is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but the additional presence of peripheral microvascular disease does not add to cognitive decline. The study, however, indirectly supports the notion that the aetiology of cognitive impairment in diabetes may not be restricted to vascular pathology.