Urine Tests May Identify Diabetics At Risk of Cognitive Decline
Urine tests may help identify diabetes patients who are at risk of cognitive decline.
A new study reveals that the presence of protein in urine may be an early warning sign for future cognitive problems in patients with type 2 diabetes and normal kidney function.
Diabetes patients have an increased risk of cognitive impairment, especially impairment due to vascular causes. In the latest study, researchers looked at whether albuminuria, a kidney complication that is common in people with diabetes and is characterized by protein excretion in the urine, predict cognitive decline in older adults with diabetes.
The study involved 2,977 diabetics with an average age of 62 years. Participants, who were followed for at least four years, underwent three neuropsychological tests: at the start of the study and again at 20 and 40 months. Researchers tested participants' information processing speed, verbal memory and executive function.
Greater declines in information processing speed were seen in patients with persistent albuminuria over four to five years compared to those without the kidney complication. The study also linked persistent and progressive albuminuria to a greater than 5 percent decline in information processing speed scores. However, there was no evidence of decline in verbal memory or executive function performance.
"Our finding was a subtle change in cognition; however, were this decline to continue over 10 to 15 years it could translate into noticeable cognitive decline by the age of 75 to 80 years, when cognitive impairment generally becomes clinically evident," Joshua Barzilay, MD, or the Emory School of Medicine, said in a news release.
"Given how common albuminuria and diabetes are in the older population, these findings have a great deal of importance from a population point of view. Moreover, albuminuria is also common among older people with hypertension without diabetes," Barzilay added.