Diabetic Foot Linked to Impaired Cognitive Function

Pharmacy Times, May 2016 Skin & Eye Health, Volume 82, Issue 5

Patients who develop foot ulcers and necrosis as a result of their diabetes may be at risk of experiencing significant cognitive declination.

Patients who develop foot ulcers and necrosis as a result of their diabetes—a condition commonly known as diabetic foot—may be at risk of experiencing significant cognitive declination, according to the results of a recent study. The first-of-its-kind study, presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 2015 conference, analyzed data on a group of patients with diabetes, all of whom had comparable cognitive abilities at the start of the study. The researchers found that participants who developed diabetic foot over the course of the study were more likely to have poorer memory, decreased concentration, difficulty learning, decreased inhibition, slower cognitive and psychomotor responses, and decreased verbal fluency than those who did not develop the condition.

“This new information is an important contribution to the health care of patients, due to their increased risk for medical complications and the unique challenge that they present to health care providers,” said researcher Rachel Natovich, PhD, in a press release. “Successful adherence to medical recommendations requires considerable cognitive abilities like intact concentration, memory, and executive functions.”

Dr. Natovich encouraged families and health care providers to routinely monitor patients with diabetic foot for cognitive changes so that intervention can occur as soon as possible, if necessary. She also suggested that patients with diabetic foot be educated on the possible cognitive complications associated with their condition, adding that these patients could benefit from participation in group treatment designed to improve control of their diabetes, nutrition, and physical activity.