The Effect of Diabetes on the Cognitive Trajectory of Older Adults in Societies of Different Aging Contexts: A Study of Mexico and the United States

Jaqueline Avila , University of Texas Medical Branch
Daniel Jupiter, University of Texas Medical Branch
Brian Downer, University of Texas Medical Branch
Silvia Mejia Arango, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte
Rebeca Wong, University of Texas at Galveston

Mexico and the U.S. have very different aging and socioeconomic contexts. Mexico also has greater diabetes burden compared to the U.S, with similar diabetes prevalence but higher mortality. As diabetes is associated with poorer cognition, Mexican older adults might be at a greater risk for cognitive decline than U.S. counterparts. However, no study has compared how diabetes impacts the cognitive trajectory of these countries. We used all waves of the Mexican Health and Aging Study to study Mexico, and comparable waves of the Health and Retirement Study to study the U.S. We measured cognition overall and by task. Diabetes was associated with lower overall cognitive score at baseline and over time in both countries. However, diabetes impacted different domains in both countries. In Mexico, diabetes predicted lower verbal memory scores over time, whereas this difference was not significant in the U.S. In both Mexico and the U.S, diabetes predicted lower scores in non-memory tasks over time.

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 Presented in Session 205. Cross-National Comparisons on Disability and Cognitive Health