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3 Type 2 Diabetes Moderates the Association between Amyloid PET and Attention/Executive Functioning in Older Veterans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Rachel Membreno Almendares*
Affiliation:
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA. VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.
Katherine J Bangen
Affiliation:
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Monica T Ly
Affiliation:
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Kayla S Walker
Affiliation:
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA. VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.
Sunder Mudaliar
Affiliation:
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Kelsey R Thomas
Affiliation:
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
*
Correspondence: Rachel Membreno Almendares, San Diego State University and VA San Diego Healthcare System, rmembrenoalmen6444@sdsu.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a risk factor for cognitive impairment/dementia and has been shown to modify the impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers on cognition and everyday functioning. Studies examining amyloid-ß (Aß), one of the hallmark AD pathologies, have shown mixed results regarding associations of Aß biomarkers with cross-sectional cognition as well as T2D, though Aß is generally associated with future cognitive declines. The purpose of the present study is to examine whether T2D impacts the associations between amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) and cognition in older Veterans.

Participants and Methods:

The current study included 202 mostly male Vietnam-Era Veterans from the Department of Defense-Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (DOD ADNI) study (age M=69.38 years, SD=4.37; 40% with self-reported T2D) who completed neuropsychological testing and florbetapir PET imaging. The Aß PET standardized uptake variable ratio (SUVR) was measured using a previously-validated summary SUVR calculated by dividing the mean uptake across 4 AD-vulnerable cortical regions by whole cerebellar uptake. General linear models examined whether T2D moderated the relationship of Aß PET with memory, attention/executive functioning, and language composite scores. Models adjusted for age, education, apolipoprotein E e4 carrier status, vascular risk burden, depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, and history of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Results:

There was no main effect of diabetes on memory, attention/executive functioning, or language performance, and higher Aß PET SUVR was only associated with worse attention/executive functioning performance (ß=-.146, 95% CI [-.261, -.031], p=.013). The Aß PET x T2D interaction was significant for attention/executive functioning such that higher Aß PET SUVR was associated with lower attention/executive functioning scores, but only in those with T2D (ß=-.116, [-.225, -.006], p=.038). This interaction was not significant for language or memory.

Conclusions:

The results show that Aß may negatively impact attention/executive functioning, but this effect was only found in Veterans with T2D. Prior work has suggested that T2D may be more associated with tau biomarkers than markers of Aß, so it is possible that the current results are due to a compounding effect of Aß pathology plus microvascular and/or tau pathology. Notably, the sample was relatively young, a relatively large proportion had elevated PTSD symptoms and/or a TBI history (which have both been shown to relate to attention/executive function), and the measures that made up the attention/executive composite (Trail Making Test A and B) have been shown to be particularly sensitive - all of which may have contributed to the domain-specific effects. Future research is needed to investigate the role that tau and vascular pathology may play in cognition among individuals with T2D. Longitudinal studies are also needed to better understand the timing and progression of these relationships.

Type
Poster Session 01: Medical | Neurological Disorders | Neuropsychiatry | Psychopharmacology
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023