Background: Intensive lifestyle interventions (ILI) to reduce weight and increase physical activity may preserve higher-order cognition in overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Adults with T2D who enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of a 10-year ILI compared with diabetes support and education (DSE; N=5,084; mean age=58.7 years; mean BMI=35.9 kg/m2; 36.8% racial/ethnic minority) provided self-assessments of difficulty with memory, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities at baseline and over ≥10 years of follow-up. The Health Utilities Index assessed memory and problem-solving; the Beck Depression Inventory-II assessed decision-making. Analyses included the full sample and sub-groups based on baseline weight status and history of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Results: At baseline, 12%, 16%, and 23% of all participants reported some difficulty with problem-solving, decision-making, and memory, respectively. For those without baseline self-identified cognitive difficulties in a specific domain, ILI was associated with lower odds of decision-making difficulties at follow-up compared to DSE (odds ratio [OR]=0.85, [95% CI 0.75,0.97]). Among those who were not obese, ILI was associated with lower odds of problem-solving difficulties at follow-up (OR=0.69 [0.51,0.95]). For participants with self-identified cognitive difficulties at baseline who had a history of CVD, ILI may have worsened difficulties in problem-solving at follow-up visits (OR=2.95 [1.38,6.31]).

Conclusions: A long-term ILI targeting weight loss and physical activity may protect self-reported higher-order cognitive abilities in adults with T2D without preexisting memory, problem-solving, or decision-making problems. However, among those with preexisting problems, ILI was not protective.


G.R. Dutton: None. M. Espeland: Consultant; Self; Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. Research Support; Self; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute on Aging, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. R.H. Neiberg: None. O. Carmichael: None. K.M. Hayden: None. K.C. Johnson: None. R.W. Jeffery: None. L.D. Baker: None. D. Cook: None. D. Kitzman: Advisory Panel; Self; AbbVie Inc.. Research Support; Self; AstraZeneca. S.R. Rapp: None.

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