The executive functions inhibit habitual thinking patterns, knee-jerk emotional reactions and reflexive behaviours such as making impulse purchases or automatically following social cues.
Researchers reviewed 60 studies comparing 9,815 individuals with type 2 diabetes to 69,254 controls without it and examined their performance on measures of executive function.
"This facet of brain function is particularly important because we rely on it when we are attempting to behave in a way that is contrary to our natural inclinations or what the environment impels us to do," said Corrie Vincent, a graduate student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at University of Waterloo, and lead author on the study.
Health professionals encourage individuals with type 2 diabetes to consistently monitor their dietary choices, check their blood sugar and adhere to medication schedules.     

Type 2 diabetes is associated with decreased quality of life and a number of microvascular and macrovascular complications if not properly managed.
"Essentially people with Type 2 diabetes may be hit with the double whammy of having more need for executive control, but - possibly because of the disease's effect on the brain - less intact resources for exerting it," said Professor Peter Hall, of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo, and senior author on the study.
The research appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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