"Diabetic Foot" May Raise Risk of Cognitive Decline
People with diabetes who have foot complications, such as infections that are slow to heal, may be at greater risk for cognitive decline, according to a study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
So-called "diabetic foot" can be one of the more severe effects of diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, resulting in loss of feeling in the feet, and foot injuries, such as cuts or blisters, may go unnoticed. Such injuries can lead to ulcers and infections, and, in severe cases, amputation.
The new research involved 99 diabetes patients with diabetic foot. Researchers assessed their cognitive abilities through a series of tests conducted before and after the development of diabetic foot -- and the results were compared with those of diabetes patients without foot problems.
The cognitive abilities of members of both groups were similar before some developed diabetic foot. But patients who developed the condition showed reduced concentration, poorer memory, learning problems, slower cognitive and psycho-motor responses, reduced inhibition and decreased verbal fluency than those who did not develop diabetic foot.
The researchers said the findings demonstate that "diabetic foot" refers not only to a physical condition but also can involve mental and memory changes as well.