A unique recent study while cautioning against the ill effects of diabetes on the brain and age suggested that diabetes can shrink the brain size and reduce age by up to 2 years every decade a person lives with the disease.
The study also gave contradicting findings to the common belief and proposed that diabetes may not be directly associated with small vessel ischemic disease in which the brain is deprived of enough oxygenated blood.
Lead author of the study and professor of radiology at the Perleman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, R Nick Bryan said “we found that patients having more severe diabetes had less brain tissue, suggesting brain atrophy. They did not seem to have more vascular disease due to the direct effect of diabetes”.
In type 2 of diabetes, which is the most common form, either the pancreas does not produce ample insulin or the cells ignore the insulin which has been produced.
Lead author Bryan said “as diabetes becomes more common, better understanding of the disease and its management becomes even more important in order to minimise its effect on patient health”.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used by Bryan and colleagues for investigating the relation between severity and duration of type 2 diabetes mellitus and brain structure in 614 patients.
The mean duration of the disease in the study group was 9.9 years. Specific tests were conducted by the researchers in order to check whether more severe diabetes was inversely correlated with brain volumes and positively correlated with ischemic lesion volumes.
According to the obtained results, no longer duration of diabetes was associated with brain volumes, especially in the gray matter. Though, no relation of diabetes characteristics with small vessel ischemia disease in the brain was found in the study.
Bryan said, “Diabetes duration correlated primarily with brain atrophy. Our results suggested that, for every 10 years of diabetes duration, the brain of a patient with diabetes looks approximately two years older than that of a non-diabetic person, in terms of gray matter volume”.
According to the researchers their conclusions of study may likely have a consequence on future decline of cognitive function in patients suffering from diabetes. It may also give birth to the possibility that such cognitive might not be strongly related to vascular dementia but to neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s.
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News source: Freepressjournal.in
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