For patients with type 2 diabetes, depression correlates with greater cognitive decline over 40-months of follow-up, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

In an effort to examine the impact of depression on cognitive decline, Mark D. Sullivan, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a 40-month study involving 2,977 participants with type 2 diabetes at high risk for cardiovascular events from the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes-Memory in Diabetes trial.

The researchers found that during follow-up, patients with scores indicative of depression showed greater cognitive decline on all tests (Digit Symbol Substitution Test, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and Stroop interference). The impact of depression on cognitive decline was independent of previous cardiovascular disease; baseline cognition or age; or intensive versus standard glucose-lowering treatment, blood pressure treatment, lipid treatment, or insulin treatment. There was no significant difference in the association after adjustment for demographic and clinical covariates.

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“Depression in patients with type 2 diabetes was associated with greater cognitive decline in all domains, across all treatment arms, and in all participant subgroups assessed,” the authors write. “Future randomized trials will be necessary to determine if depression treatment can lower the risk of cognitive decline in patients with diabetes.”

Several pharmaceutical companies provided study drugs, equipment, or supplies.