Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diabetes shrinks elderly brain

Date:
May 7, 2012
Source:
European Society of Endocrinology
Summary:
Elderly people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes suffer from an accelerated decline in brain size and mental capacity in as little as two years according to new research.

Elderly people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes suffer from an accelerated decline in brain size and mental capacity in as little as two years according to new research presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy.

An Australian research team led by Associate Professor Katherine Samaras (Garvan Institute of Medical Research) found that the aging brain is vulnerable to worsening blood sugar levels even before type 2 diabetes is diagnosable.

While some brain volume loss is a normal part of aging, the researchers found that elderly people with blood sugar levels in flux, as well as type 2 diabetes, lost almost two and a half times more brain volume than their peers over two years. The reduction in size of the frontal lobe -- associated with higher mental functions like decision-making, emotional control, and long term memory -- has a significant impact on cognitive function and quality of life.

Diabetes is a very common disorder caused by high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. It affects 6.4% (285 million) of the worldwide population and is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke and damage to the eyes, feet and kidneys. In type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of all cases, insulin -- a hormone that allows cells to take sugar from the bloodstream and store it as energy -- does not work properly. 344 million people also have pre-diabetes, a condition with mildly elevated blood sugar levels that gives them a 50% risk of developing the disease over ten years.

This research -- a follow-up of 312 participants from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study -- compared MRI scans taken from the beginning and end of a two-year period. The participants were elderly community-dwelling Australians aged between 70 and 90 years old (average age 78, 54% male) and free from dementia. At the start of the study 41% had pre-diabetes and 13% had type 2 diabetes.

At the end of the study the participants were divided into four groups: (1) those with normal, stable glucose levels (102 people); (2) those with stable pre-diabetes (120 people); (3) those whose glucose levels had worsened (57 people); and finally, (4) those with type 2 diabetes from the start (33 people).

The MRI scans showed that the normal group lost an average of 18.4 cm3 total brain volume over two years. In comparison, the stable pre-diabetic group lost 1.4 times more brain volume (26.6 cm3). Both the third group (worsening glucose levels) and fourth group (type 2 diabetes) lost 2.3 times the stable group's brain volume loss (41.7 cm3 and 42.3 cm3, respectively).

The researchers -- using statistical models that accounted for other variables -- concluded that a person's blood sugar status after two years can significantly predict their decline in brain volume.

Associate Professor Katherine Samaras, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, said:

"These findings highlight the importance of prevention of diabetes. They also emphasise that, in the elderly, clinicians and allied health professionals need to understand that the complexity of diabetes care needs to accommodate expected declines in cognitive function.

"We need to understand why these changes in cognition and brain size occur. Is it due merely to higher blood sugars? Is the brain subject to the toxic effects of glucose, just as peripheral nerves are? To what extent do other factors associated with diabetes also contribute to the decline in brain size and function, for example inflammation or blood fat levels?

"We also need to learn how we can prevent or deter the negative effects of diabetes on the brain."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Endocrinology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Society of Endocrinology. "Diabetes shrinks elderly brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507102221.htm>.
European Society of Endocrinology. (2012, May 7). Diabetes shrinks elderly brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507102221.htm
European Society of Endocrinology. "Diabetes shrinks elderly brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507102221.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins