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Associations of insulin resistance with cognition in individuals without diagnosed diabetes: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

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Insulin resistance (IR) adversely impacts memory and executive functioning in non-Hispanic whites without diabetes. Less is known in Hispanics/Latinos, despite the fact that Hispanics/Latinos have higher rates of insulin resistance than non-Hispanic whites. We investigated the association between IR and cognition and its variation by age.


Data from 5987 participants 45-74 years old without diabetes from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. IR was considered continuously using homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and also dichotomized based on clinically relevant thresholds for hyperinsulinemia (fasting insulin > 84.73 pmol/L or HOMA-IR > 2.6) and sample-based norms (75th percentile of fasting insulin or HOMA-IR). Cognitive testing included the Brief Spanish English Verbal Learning Test (B-SEVLT), Verbal Fluency, and Digit Symbol Substitution.


There was 90% overlap in participant categorization comparing clinically relevant and sample-based thresholds. In separate fully-adjusted linear regression models, age modified the association between HOMA-IR and Digit Symbol Substitution (p = 0.02); advancing age combined with higher HOMA-IR levels resulted in higher scores. Age also modified the association between clinically relevant hyperinsulinemia and B-SEVLT recall (p = 0.03); with increasing age came worse performance for individuals with hyperinsulinemia.


The relationship of IR with cognition in Hispanics/Latinos without diabetes may reflect an age- and test-dependent state.

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