Type 2 Diabetes May Damage Thinking Skills
Here’s another reason to get your diabetes under control
The researchers tested everyone at the start of the study, and again two years later. The volunteers completed thinking and memory tests. They were also given MRI scans to look at blood flow in their brains, and they had blood tests to measure their average blood sugar levels and inflammation.
In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use insulin efficiently and eventually can’t make enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Insulin is a hormone that’s crucial for metabolizing carbohydrates in foods. More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and most of them have type 2 diabetes, the ADA said.
In the study, the researchers evaluated 40 people. Their average age was 66. Nineteen of the study volunteers had type 2 diabetes, and 21 didn’t have the blood sugar disease.
The study was published online July 8 in the journal Neurology. It was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, the American Diabetes Association, the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center and the U.S. National Center for Research Resources.
The researchers found that the higher someone’s average blood sugar levels were over the previous several months (a measure called A1C), the worse the problem with blood vessel dilation was, Novak said.
The problem the researchers found was with dilation of the blood vessels, which allows more blood to flow through the brain. Adequate amounts of blood are crucial for thinking skills and other activities.
“Our major finding is we have linked the acceleration of the cognitive decline to impaired blood flow regulation in the brain,” said senior study author Dr. Vera Novak, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School in Boston.