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Selective Impairment of Attentional Networks of Executive Control in Middle-Aged Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Dianlong Hou, Yingjuan Ma, Baolan Wang, Xunyao Hou, Jian Chen, Yan Hong, Song Xu, Shanjing Nie, Xueping Liu

(Department of Senile Neurology, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:5355-5362

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.909142

BACKGROUND: The influence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on attention has been elusive. The Attention Network Test (ANT) was developed to evaluate the functioning of 3 individual attentional networks: orienting, alerting, and executive control. The purpose of this study was to use the ANT to assess attentional function and its sub-components in T2DM patients ages 40–60 years.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty T2DM patients and 30 healthy controls ages 40–60 years were recruited in this investigation. The ANT was used to statistically compare the efficiency among 3 sub-components of the attention networks between middle-aged T2DM patients (n=30) and gender-, age-, and education-matched healthy controls (n=30).
RESULTS: The ANT demonstrated a significant difference in executive control network between the T2DM patients and healthy controls (t=3.242, P=0.002), whereas no significant difference was observed regarding the domains of alerting (t=0.515, P=0.609) and orienting control (t=0.078, P=0.938) between the T2DM patient group and the healthy control group. Moreover, the mean reaction time in the ANT in the T2DM patients was significantly longer compared with that in the healthy controls (t=3.561, P=0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The ANT reveals significant impairment in the executive control of middle-aged patients diagnosed with T2DM, whereas no significant impairment was observed in the domains of alerting and orienting.

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