Diabetes Ages the Brain

diabetes brainAccording to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), approximately 26 million people across the United States have diabetes, and an astounding 1.9 million additional people diagnosed with the disease each and every year. Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and a new study shows evidence that it ages the brain.

When a patient suffers from diabetes, their body causes glucose levels to rise, which is called hyperglycemia. A patient suffering from type II to diabetes has one of two things happen, the cells ignore insulin produced by the body or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Initially, the body will compensate for the deficiency because the pancreas will make extra insulin; however, as time goes on, the pancreas simply cannot keep up.

Glucose builds up in the blood of people who suffer from type II diabetes; however, that glucose should be going into their cells. This causes two problems – their cells become starved for energy and their eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart may become damaged over time.

For the new study, researchers examined 614 patients with an average age of 62 years. They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the link between the severity and duration of type II diabetes and brain structure in those patients. The average duration of the disease in patients involved in the study was 9.9 years.

Study results showed that type II diabetes is responsible for aging and shrinking of the brain. In fact, researchers say the brain of the type II diabetic patient ages by up to two years for every decade a person has the disease. In an

Lead author and professor of radiology at the Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. R. Nick Bryan said that the study showed that patients suffering from more severe cases of diabetes have less brain tissue. In addition, patients suffering from diabetes for longer periods of time proved to have a loss in brain volume especially in great matter. However, those patients did not seem to suffer from additional vascular disease has a direct effect of their diabetes.

In addition, going against common clinical beliefs, the study revealed that diabetes may in fact not be directly associated with the brains ability to receive enough oxygenated blood, which is associated with small vessel ischemic disease.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) expects that by the year 2015, as many as one in every three American adults will suffer from diabetes, which is why researchers feel it is so important to gather additional data about the disease and the effects it has only human body. Armed with new information, researchers can come up with solutions to better combat the deadly disease of diabetes

Researchers proved that type II diabetes ages the brain. In addition, they pointed out that their findings could have future implications when looking at the decline of cognitive function in diabetic patients. Furthermore, study findings could raise the possibility that cognitive changes may not be related to vascular dementia but instead be connected to neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

By Donna W. Martin


Daily Mail
University Herald

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