The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Journal Article

Cerebral Small Vessel Disease in Diabetes

February 22, 2021
 

Hertzel C Gerstein, Eric E Smith, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, Dipika Desai, Philip Awadalla, Philippe Broet, Sandra Black, Trevor J B Dummer, Jason Hicks, Alan Moody, Jean-Claude Tardif, Koon K Teo, Jennifer Vena, Salim Yusuf, Douglas S Lee, Matthias G Friedrich, Sonia S Anand
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 106, Issue 2, February 2021, Pages e891–e898
https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa815

Abstract

Background

Diabetes is a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment. The anatomical basis for this is uncertain.

Methods

The Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds collected brain and carotid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 2 cognitive tests (the Digit Symbol Substitution Test and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test) in a cross-sectional sample of men and women. Brain MRIs identified brain infarcts (BI), lacunar BI, high white matter hyperintensity (WMH), vascular brain injury (VBI; BI or high WMH), and small vessel VBI (lacunar BI or high WMH). Carotid MRIs estimated carotid wall volume, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis. Cognitive scores were standardized to each site’s mean score, and cognitive impairment was identified by 1 or both test scores ≤1 standard deviation below the site’s mean score on that test.

Results

The 7733 participants included 495 participants (6.4%) with diabetes, of whom 388 were taking diabetes drugs. After age and sex adjustment, diabetes was independently associated with BI (odds ratio [OR] 1.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05, 2.24), VBI (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.26, 2.13), small vessel VBI (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.28, 2.19), and cognitive impairment (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.20, 1.80). The association between diabetes and small vessel VBI persisted after adjustment for cerebrovascular disease risk factors and nonlacunar infarcts (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.15, 2.01), and the association with cognitive impairment persisted after adjustment for small vessel VBI (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.03, 1.56).

Conclusion

Small vessel disease characterizes much of the relationship between diabetes and VBI. However, additional factors are required to disentangle the relationship between diabetes and cognitive impairment.

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