Diabetes and Cognition

Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks, and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As a result, glucose can’t get into the cells and blood glucose rises above normal. People with type 1 diabetes need to take over the function of the pancreas, which includes taking insulin multiple times a day via injections or insulin pump, in order to maintain blood glucose in as close to a normal range as possible. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) are both common in type 1 diabetes and can occur if too little or too much insulin is administered. Both extremely low and high blood glucose can be dangerous, both in the short and long term.

Naomi Chaytor, PhD, current research in this area is focused on:

  1. The cognitive and emotional impacts of short-term blood glucose extremes and long-term diabetes-related complications in middle aged and older adults, including identification of those at greatest risk for cognitive impairment.
  2. The use of diabetes technology (e.g., continuous glucose monitoring and automated insulin delivery) to reduce the cognitive burden of diabetes self-management in older adults.
  3. Identifying barriers and facilitators of optimal cognitive, emotional, and functional outcomes in older adults with type 1 diabetes, both within the United States and Internationally.