Tags: Diabetes | diabetes | brain | aging

Diabetes Accelerates Brain Aging: Study

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 04:12 PM

Diabetes may premature age the brain, causing a greater risk of cognitive deficits later in life, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The findings suggest clinicians consider screening middle-aged patients with Type 1 diabetes for cognitive difficulties to speed early treatments, when appropriate. The conclusions are based on brain MRIs, cognitive assessments, physical exams, and medical histories taken on nearly 100 people with diabetes and 81 other healthy individuals.

The MRIs showed that 33 percent of the people with diabetes had moderate to severe levels of damage to the brain's white matter, compared with 7 percent of their non-diabetic counterparts. Diabetics also scored lower on three cognitive tests that measure learning, manual dexterity, and verbal intelligence.

Researchers also found signs of nerve damage, such as numbness or tingling in extremities, which might explain how diabetes harms the brain.

"The severity of cognitive complications and cerebral small vessel disease — which can starve the brain of oxygen — is much more intense than we expected, but it can be measured in a clinical setting," said Caterina Rosano, M.D., an associate professor in Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology.

"Further study in younger patients is needed, but it stands to reason that early detection and intervention — such as controlling cardio-metabolic factors and tighter glycemic control, which help prevent microvascular complications — also could reduce or delay these cognitive complications."
The study, published in the journal Neurology, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Type 1 Diabetes may premature age the brain, causing a greater risk of cognitive deficits later in life, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh.
diabetes, brain, aging
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2015-12-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 04:12 PM
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