People with impaired glucose tolerance can show cognitive dysfunction

July 16, 2013, Institute of Food Technologists

People with impaired glucose tolerance—the precursor to Type 2 diabetes—often show impaired cognitive function that may be alleviated through a diet designed specifically for their condition, according to a panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Expo.

Impaired is a pre-diabetic state of hyperglycemia that is associated with insulin resistance and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. It can precede Type 2 by several years, and some lifestyle changes, such as getting to a normal weight and increasing exercise, can help pre-diabetic people avoid that progression completely.

Louise Dye, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and behavior in the Human Appetite Research Unit at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, presented research in which she examined 31 previous studies regarding cognitive performance under various dietary conditions. She found that the impaired glucose tolerance group showed difficulties in 12 of 27 cognitive test outcomes, including word recognition, visual verbal learning test, visual spatial learning test, psychomotor test and Corsi block-tapping. The impaired glucose tolerance group was made up of all middle-aged women who appeared to be in general good health.

"There was significant impairment in those women who were impaired glucose tolerant," Dye said. "To me, that feels like a ticking time bomb. We need to use food – the and food industry – to help us shift these people back from impaired glucose tolerance. By the time they get to Type 2 diabetes, the impairments are much more evident."

She pointed to a 2009 Japanese study of 129 people in their 80s, 55 of whom had impaired glucose tolerance or Type 2 diabetes. All the subjects in the study consumed more than 30 grams of dietary fiber per day and exercised two to four times per week over a two-year period. Within that timeframe, the 36 people with impaired glucose tolerance showed improvements in delayed recall and block design tests. The Type 2 diabetes group showed improvement in dementia, delayed recall and their mental state.

"That tells us something about how improving glucose regulation through dietary fiber and exercise could improve cognitive functions," Dye said.

She called on the food industry to continue researching the best products for consumers with glucose tolerance issues, such as those foods with increased fiber and those with limited glycemic impact.

Another panelist, Nicholas Bordenave, Ph.D., associate principal scientist in the analytical department of PepsiCo Global R&D, said a key aspect to consider in these foods is satiety. He said two proven avenues for doing that are a shift toward slowly digestible starch and resistant starch in foods and enhanced viscosity of food through digestion. However, he noted that the challenge for food manufacturers is to create foods with these components that taste appealing to consumers.

"From the consumer standpoint there is still a lot to understand," he said. "Right now, people think in terms of satiety. They are not aware yet of the effect of glucose delivery on their mental performance. It's really about consumer education."

Explore further: Exercise-induced improvements in glycemic control and type 2 diabetes

Related Stories

Exercise-induced improvements in glycemic control and type 2 diabetes

July 1, 2013
Exercise-induced improvements in glycemic control are dependent on the pre-training glycemic level, and although moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can improve glycemic control, individuals with ambient hyperglycemia (high ...

Undiagnosed pre-diabetes highly prevalent in early Alzheimer's disease study

July 14, 2013
When Georgetown University neurologist R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, began enrolling people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease into a nationwide study last year, he expected to find only a handful of participants with ...

Acute hypoglycemia impairs executive cognitive function

June 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—In adults with and without type 1 diabetes, executive cognitive function is impaired during hypoglycemia, according to research published online June 18 in Diabetes Care.

Study suggests that night work may impair glucose tolerance

June 3, 2013
A new study suggests that night work may impair glucose tolerance, supporting a causal role of night work in the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes among shift workers.

High unawareness of distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy

January 10, 2013
(HealthDay)—A high percentage of older adults with diabetes and prediabetes are unaware of having clinical distal sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSPN), according to a study published online Dec. 28 in Diabetes Care.

4.4 mmol/L is optimal fasting glucose cutoff for GDM screening

April 16, 2013
(HealthDay)—A fasting plasma glucose value of 4.4 mmol/L is the optimal cut point for determining which pregnant Chinese women need a 75-g 2-h oral glucose tolerance test offered at 24 to 28 weeks' gestation, according ...

Recommended for you

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

January 17, 2018
Six novel chromosomal regions identified by scientists leading a large, prospective study of children at risk for type 1 diabetes will enable the discovery of more genes that cause the disease and more targets for treating ...

Thirty-year study shows women who breastfeed for six months or more reduce their diabetes risk

January 16, 2018
In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published ...

Women who have gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at higher risk of future health issues

January 16, 2018
Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy have a higher than usual risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in the future, according to new research led by the ...

Diabetes gene found that causes low and high blood sugar levels in the same family

January 15, 2018
A study of families with rare blood sugar conditions has revealed a new gene thought to be critical in the regulation of insulin, the key hormone in diabetes.

Discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

January 12, 2018
New research by MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., and her team has demonstrated that an enzyme she had previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy ...

Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue

January 11, 2018
The human body has two primary kinds of fat—white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity, and brown fat, which burns calories in order to produce heat and has garnered interest as a potential means ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.