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 glucose tolerance 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 diabetes by several years, and some lifestyle changes, such as getting to a healthy weight and increasing exercise, can help pre-diabetic people avoid that progression completely.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, presented research in which they 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, and psychomotor test. 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, said the researchers. They 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 fibre per day and exercised two to four times per week over a two-year period.
Within that timeframe, 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.
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