How Type 1 Diabetes Affects The Brain
The brain is an expensive organ to run: Most studies suggest that it requiresup to 20 percent of the body’s total energy resources despite only takingup approximately 2 percent of its overall weight. Maintaining appropriateglucose levels—the proper amounts of the simple sugar that acts as the body’smain energy source—is key to keeping the brain running at its best. This can bedifficult for people—especially children—who have type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D),an auto-immune disorder that stops the body from producing insulin, the hormonethat helps to break down what we eat into that vital glucose fuel. New researchreported through a national consortium called the Diabetes Researchin Children Network suggest that this can affect brain development inmyriad ways, some of which could offer new insights into our understanding of howthe brain compensates, over time, for chronic or degenerative disease. Last year, my daughter, Ella, was diagnosed with Type 1diabetes at age 10. As we learned more about the disease, we were cautioned tolook out for both hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose levels, as well ashypoglycemia, low blood glucose levels. High blood sugars result in symptomslike increased thirst, frequent urination, headache, and fatigue. If highglucose levels continue for a long time, there could be long-term damage to thekidneys, eyes, and nerves. Low blood sugars, on the other hand, can lead toshakiness, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, and muscle weakness—and if nottreated immediately, seizures or unconsciousness. While there’s no “perfect”number for glucose levels, it is recommended that most children stay between 70and 180 mg/dL, checking their blood sugar 4-6 times per day with a glucometer, whichcan measure blood glucose level from a small dr Continue reading >>
How Does Type 1 Diabetes Affect Your Brain?
Many tools and tips can help you control your type 1 diabetes. But left unchecked, it can affect several organs, including your brain. Big spikes and dips in blood sugar levels are linked to depression, shortened attention spans, and slowed reaction times, both physically and mentally. More research needs to be done for experts to figure out the exact short-term and long-term effects of diabetes on the brain -- but they're hopeful that they’ll find ways to prevent and even reverse damage. A 2014 study published by the American Diabetes Association shows that really high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can slow the growth of a brain as it develops. The same is true when a child’s levels swing up and down a lot. Brain scans show differences between a child with diabetes and one without. Still researchers found no major differences in their IQs, mood, behavior, and learning and memory skills. It’s still unknown if the disease can affect things like their muscle movements and how fast they process information. Adults who’ve had type 1 for a long time have slower physical and mental reactions. The condition doesn’t seem to impact a person’s learning and thinking skills, researchers say. But memory and attention span can be affected. Type 1, like type 2, is linked with a high rate of depression. High blood sugar levels and the stress of managing a long-term disease are to blame. The best defense is to control your blood sugar, eat a healthy diet, and follow all of your doctor’s instructions. The longer your levels stay really high or low, or swing to extremes, the more likely your brain will be affected. Continuous glucose monitors are a great tool, since they measure blood sugar every 5 minutes. Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Damage The Brain?
Long-term exposure to increased glucose levels is known to cause damage to the kidneys, retinas and other organs. Now, it appears that long-term exposure to hyperglycemia may also have significant and measurable effects on the brain, and greater efforts are needed to evaluate and monitor patients with diabetes for dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to experts. “I think we all need to have our antenna up. It is a risk, and we need to get our patients into evaluation and treatment centers when we begin to see the problem,” said endocrinologist Janet McGill, MD, who is a professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, metabolism and lipid research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Do we need wholesale random screening? That may not be cost-effective, but we need to be aware of the early signs.” A recent review published in the American Journal of Psychiatry has found that individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at higher risk for developing dementia if they have diabetes or psychiatric symptoms such as depression.1 Researchers at University College London analyzed data from 62 separate studies, following a total of 15,950 people diagnosed with MCI. They found that among patients with MCI, those with diabetes were 65% more likely to progress to dementia. The review further suggests incorporating appropriate preventative strategies to lessening the increasing societal burden of dementia in older adults with diabetes. Another study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic has also found that individuals who develop diabetes and high blood pressure (BP) in middle age are more likely to have brain cell loss and other damage to the brain. In addition, patients with diabetes were found to be more likely to have Continue reading >>
How Diabetes Harms The Brain
TIME Health For more, visit TIME Health. When blood sugar levels start to climb in diabetes, a number of body systems are harmed—and that list includes the brain, since studies have linked diabetes with a higher risk of stroke and dementia. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology reports that changes in blood vessel activity in the brains of diabetics may lead to drops in cognitive functions and their ability to perform daily activities. Dr. Vera Novak, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and her colleagues followed a group of 65 older people. About half had type 2 diabetes, and half did not. After two years, the diabetic patients had lower scores on cognitive tests compared to when they began, while people without diabetes showed little change on the tests. MORE: The Strange Way a Diabetes Drug May Help Skin Scars What drove the decline, says Novak, were changes in the brains of the diabetic patients. Diabetes can cause blood vessels to be less responsive to the ebb and flow of demand in different parts of the brain. Normally, flexible vessels will swell slightly to increase blood flow and oxygen to areas that are more intensely active, such as regions involved in memory or higher reasoning during intellectual tasks. But unchecked blood sugar can make these vessels less malleable and therefore less responsive. “When doing any task, from cognition to moving your fingers, you need to increase blood flow to that specific area of the brain,” says Novak. “With diabetes, however, that vasodilation ability is reduced, so you have fewer resources to perform any task.” MORE: Statins May Seriously Increase Diabetes Risk In the study, Novak measured the changes in the flexibility of the blood v Continue reading >>
The Final Frontier: How Does Diabetes Affect The Brain?
Our understanding of the impact of diabetes on organ function has been evolving since the discovery of insulin in the 1920s. At that time insulin was a miracle drug that appeared to cure diabetes, but over time it became clear that death and disability from diabetes complications involving the eyes, kidneys, peripheral nerves, heart, and vasculature could occur even with treatment. With the improvement in diabetes care over the past 20 years, fewer patients are developing the traditional diabetes complications. However, as people live long and well with the disease, it has become apparent that diabetes can alter function and structure in tissues not typically associated with complications such as the brain and bone. Alteration in brain structure and function are particularly of concern because of the impact of dementia and cognitive dysfunction on overall quality of life. From large epidemiological studies, it has been demonstrated that both vascular and Alzheimer's dementia are more common in patients with type 2 diabetes (1). Why this might be true has been difficult to define. Certainly these patients can be expected to have more risk factors such as previous cardiovascular disease, history of hypertension, and dyslipidemia than aged matched control subjects, but when these variables are controlled, the risk for patients with diabetes appears to be higher than that of other subject groups. Persistent hyperglycemia appears to play an important role in cerebral dysfunction. Many years ago, Reaven et al. (2) demonstrated that performance on cognitive tasks assessing learning, reasoning, and complex psychomotor performance was inversely related to glycemic control in a small population of subjects with type 2 diabetes. This issue was recently readdressed in the much larg Continue reading >>
Study: Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Show Abnormal Brain Activity
Study: Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes Show Abnormal Brain Activity Having diabetes may affect the way our brains work. Research is taking place to find out exactly how this occurs. In a recent study , researchers describe how tying diabetes to cognitive impairment is tricky because many people with diabetes have other conditions like high blood pressure and obesity, which also affect cognition. Thats why they conducted a study in young adults with and without type 1 diabetes who were virtually free of such comorbidities, the study authors wrote in their abstract . Christine Embury is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Magnetoencephalography (MEG) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She worked with Dr. Wilson, the studys lead author and was kind enough to answer some questions. In layman terms, she explains that neural processing is brain activity. In our work, we relate brain activity in specific brain regions to task-specific cognitive processes, like working memory. Widespread brain networks are involved in this kind of complex processing including regions relating to verbal processing and attention, working together to accomplish task goals, she writes. They matched two groups, one with and one without type 1 diabetes, on major health and demographic factors and had them all do a verbal working memory task during magnetoencephalographic (MEG) brain imaging. For the group with type 1 diabetes, the mean years of diabetes duration were only 12.4. The researchers hypothesized that those with type 1 diabetes would have altered neural dynamics in verbal working memory processing and that these differences would directly relate to clinical disease measures, they wrote. Higher A1c and Diabetes Duration May Alter Brain Activity They found that those Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis May Come With Brain Changes In Kids, Including Memory Loss
Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis May Come With Brain Changes In Kids, Including Memory Loss Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of the death in the United States. A new study reveals another disturbing detail. Researchers found that type 1 diabetes in children can cause brain loss, affecting memory and attention cognition. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a harmful complication of Type 1 Diabetes that can gradually alter brain matter in newly diagnosed children. "Children and adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes with diabetic ketoacidosis have evidence of brain gray matter shrinkage and white matter swelling," the study's lead author Dr. Fergus Cameron, head of diabetes services at Royal Children's Hospital in Victoria, Australia, told HealthDay . The recent study includes 36 children and teens with DKA and 59 without it. MRIs were taken over the course of six months. Those with DKA experienced a decrease in gray matter volume along with swelling of white matter. There was also evidence of memory loss and reduced sustained and divided attention. Symptoms tended to develop over time, raising a big concern for parents who might not notice any differences in their child right away. "Any decrement in attention or memory in children is a concern as children are acquiring new knowledge and learning new skills all the time," Cameron said. Cameron and his team found that 20 to 30 percent of children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes had DKA. According to the CDC, from 2002 to 2003, 15,000 youth in the United States were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. "DKA still kills people, so we need to do better. We need better tools. And we need to educate doctors more on the symptoms of type 1 diabetes," Cameron said. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation reports th Continue reading >>
Li Doctor Leads Study Of Type 1 Diabetes’ Effects On The Brain
For nearly a century, scientists have asked how diabetes affects the aging brain. Now a Long Island medical investigator — with the help of a $4.2 million grant — is beginning the hunt for answers. Dr. Alan M. Jacobson, chief research officer at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, has been awarded the money by the National Institutes of Health. He is to lead a consortium of medical centers throughout the United States and Canada with the aim of understanding how Type 1 diabetes affects the most complex organ in the known universe — the human brain. Participants will be 60 and older, ages when the risk rises for cognitive impairments, with or without diabetes. Earlier medical investigations have shown that diabetes adversely influences the brain through a telltale triad — uncontrolled blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All three are part of the condition. The team will be on the lookout for key predictors of cognitive impairments as they collect information on hundreds of people over the next five years. The research is just getting organized, Jacobson said. His game plan is to delve into every possible nuance about cognitive function under the impact of a lifelong and powerful disease, and employ imaging technology to eavesdrop on each participant’s brain. “We will be using MRI and a variety of different techniques to study brain structure, brain physiology and changes in vascular blood flow,” Jacobson said. The research will attempt to answer unresolved questions about brain shrinkage, memory loss and cognitive declines in thinking and problem-solving that can occur in some diabetics. For people with any hints of problems, Jacobson said there is a key strategy to protect the brain: controlling blood sugar — the same strategy that prote Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Your Brain
By Terri D'Arrigo WebMD Feature Your brain is a finely tuned organ. But it’s sensitive to the amount of sugar, or glucose, it receives as fuel. Whether you have type 1 or type 2, both the high blood glucose of uncontrolled diabetes and the low blood glucose that sometimes comes with diabetes treatment can affect your brain. The Dangers of High Blood Glucose Some of diabetes’ effects on the brain aren’t obvious right away, especially when they are related to high blood sugar. “With diabetes, you have an increased risk of damage to blood vessels over time, including damage to the small blood vessels in the brain. This damage affects the brain’s white matter,” says Joseph C. Masdeu, MD, PhD, of the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. White matter is the part of the brain where nerves talk to one another. When the nerves in the brain are damaged, you can have changes in thinking called vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia. Vascular cognitive impairment can happen with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but there are some differences in risk, says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “The longer you have diabetes [in general], the more of a chance there is of developing dementia, but we see much less of it in people with type 1 whose diabetes is well-controlled,” he says. People with type 2 may face a double-whammy because they tend to have other problems that also can cause blood vessel damage. “These patients tend to be less metabolically fit overall, with low HDL [“good”] cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure, and they are more likely to be obese,” Zonszein says. Diabetes can combine with these other problems to create inflammation that damages bl Continue reading >>
Frontiers | Type 1 Diabetes And Impaired Awareness Of Hypoglycemia Are Associated With Reduced Brain Gray Matter Volumes | Neuroscience
Front. Neurosci., 25 September 2017 | Type 1 Diabetes and Impaired Awareness of Hypoglycemia Are Associated with Reduced Brain Gray Matter Volumes 1Department of Radiology, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States 2Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States 3Division of Biostatistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States In this study, we retrospectively analyzed the anatomical MRI data acquired from 52 subjects with type 1 diabetes (26M/26F, 36 11 years old, A1C = 7.2 0.9%) and 50 age, sex and BMI frequency-matched non-diabetic controls (25M/25F, 36 14 years old). The T1D group was further sub-divided based on whether subjects had normal, impaired, or indeterminate awareness of hypoglycemia (n = 31, 20, and 1, respectively). Our goals were to test whether the gray matter (GM) volumes of selected brain regions were associated with diabetes status as well as with the status of hypoglycemia awareness. T1D subjects were found to have slightly smaller volume of the whole cortex as compared to controls (2.7%, p = 0.016), with the most affected brain region being the frontal lobe (3.6%, p = 0.024). Similar differences of even larger magnitude were observed among the T1D subjects based on their hypoglycemia awareness status. Indeed, compared to the patients with normal awareness of hypoglycemia, patients with impaired awareness had smaller volume of the whole cortex (7.9%, p = 0.0009), and in particular of the frontal lobe (9.1%, p = 0.006), parietal lobe (8.0%, p = 0.015) and temporal lobe (8.2%, p = 0.009). Such differences were very similar to those observed between patients with impaired awareness and controls (7.6%, p = 0.0002 in whole cortex, 9.1%, p = 0.0003 i Continue reading >>
Type 1 Diabetes And The Brain
Is the presence and development of microvascular disease in type 1 diabetes related to changes in brain structure and cognitive function? 2006-.... Funding: Dutch Diabetes research Foundation. Contact person: Eelco van Duinkerken There is growing evidence that individuals with type 1 diabetes (DM1) have mild performance deficits in a range of neuropsychological tests compared to non-diabetic controls, but the mechanisms underlying cognitive deterioration in diabetes are still not fully understood. In the past decades, several studies have addressed the effects of recurrent hypoglycemia on cognition. While retrospective studies in adult patients with DM1 have demonstrated an association between a history of recurrent severe hypoglycemia and a modest degree of cognitive impairment, two large prospective studies did not find such an association. Reanalysis of the DCCT findings confirmed this conclusion. In contrast, there is evidence emerging for a damaging effect of chronic hyperglycemia on brain function. Hyperglycemia may lead to accumulation of potentially toxic glucose metabolites, oxidative stress, accelerated formation of advanced glycation end products and microvascular changes in the brain, analogous to peripheral complications of diabetes. Results of studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain (MRI), concerning the severity of cerebral atrophy and white matter lesions in patients with DM1, are inconsistent. Problems with study design, including lack of appropriate controls, small sample sizes, and insensitive rating methods, are likely to contribute to these apparent inconsistencies. It is of great importance to determine whether the observed structural changes in the brain are related to cognition and to assess whether these are associated with disease Continue reading >>
Keeping Your Brain Strong With Diabetes
Diabetes has powerful effects on the brain. Chronically high blood sugar seems to reduce brain function for many people. How do you protect your brain from diabetes’ effects? We know that insulin is crucial to a healthy central nervous system (or CNS, the brain and spinal cord). Insulin works differently in the brain than in the rest of the body. Scientists in Seattle found that most of insulin’s effects on how we think and eat come through “CNS mechanisms” other than glucose uptake. When blood glucose levels are high, insulin has trouble getting into the brain. The molecules that transport it across the “blood-brain barrier” are affected by diabetes or by high sugars. This is called “CNS insulin resistance.” William Klein, PhD, professor of neurology at Northwestern University, says that, “Insulin seems to play a role in learning and memory.” If insulin can’t do its job in the brain, learning and memory are compromised. This process can lead to Alzheimer disease according to Erika Gebel, PhD. Studies show that both Alzheimer disease and “vascular dementia” are more common in people with Type 2 diabetes. People with poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes may also be at risk, according to an article in the journal Diabetes. “Vascular dementia” means brain damage caused by blood vessel damage. Alzheimer dementia is a disease where proteins called beta-amyloids attach to nerve cells and appear to block insulin from working. This is why Alzheimer has been called “Type 3 diabetes.” The effects can be seen in memory loss, poorer decision-making, and loss of focus. It’s a sneaky complication. You’re not likely to notice it for a long time, although other people might. Improving your brain This is all pretty scary news, but diabetes brain sympto Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Your Brain: Understand The Connection & Safeguard Your Brain
Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin. As can be imagined, these increased blood sugar levels have a harmful impact on the whole body, and the brain is no exception. The human brain is a complex organ, and hence is very sensitive to the harmful effects of high or blood sugar levels, since glucose and oxygen are the main fuel for brain function. Now diabetes is a double edged sword — both hyperglycemia (or high blood glucose that comes with poorly managed diabetes) as well as hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose that can be caused by diabetes treatment) can negatively impact the brain. For diabetics, chance of brain related complications is just one more reason to keep your diabetes under control. Effects of High Blood Glucose On The Brain High levels of blood glucose entering the brain cause damage to blood vessels over time. The brain’s white matter is the area where nerves are linked and communicate in order to carry out every day activities of life. Think of the white matter as the subway of the brain, providing the essential connectivity, and uniting different regions of the brain into networks that perform various mental operations. When excess blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels of the brain, this connectivity is disrupted and the result is often a dramatic disturbance of normal mental function. Over time, this damage causes changes in thinking, known as vascular cognitive impairment or vascular dementia. Several scientific research studies have found that the longer you have diabetes, the more of a chance there is of cognitive impairment. A research done at Harvard Medical School, Boston found evidence that “Type 2 diabetes is associated with cortical and subcor Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Lead To Memory Loss?
In 2012, 9.3 percent of people in the United States had diabetes. That means that about 29.1 million Americans had diabetes in 2012. This number is growing. Every year, doctors diagnose an estimated 1.4 million new cases in the United States. Diabetes is a disease that involves having higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. This is known as hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia occurs when your body can’t produce or respond to insulin. Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Because of the reduced insulin production or resistance to the hormone, blood sugar levels tend to be high. Type 1 diabetes This is also known as juvenile diabetes. An autoimmune process may cause type 1 diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body’s antibodies attack the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. You need insulin to help glucose molecules enter the cells. Once glucose enters the cells, your body can use it to create energy. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce adequate amounts of insulin. This leads to higher than normal levels of blood sugar. Insulin injections are a necessary part of life for people living with type 1 diabetes. As of 2012, approximately 1.25 million Americans had type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes This is the most common form of diabetes worldwide. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but it can’t use it in the way that it should. This resistance causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. The added insulin increases the hormone levels in the bloodstream. This can have long-term negative effects on the brain. Check out: Diabetes by the numbers: Facts, statistics, and you » Memory loss is a normal phenomenon of aging. There are differences between memory loss that occurs with age and the complex memory Continue reading >>
Study Identifies Brain Changes In Type 1 Diabetes
Scientists have identified differences in brain patterns of people with type 1 diabetes which could have implications for future treatments. The findings could also explain why type 1 diabetes affects the brain during cognitive activity, and revealed that in some cases the brain adapts to prevent cognitive impairment. Researchers from the University of Barcelona used neuroimaging techniques to examine brain patterns of 22 people with type 1 diabetes compared to 16 healthy matched controls. The participants then completed a series of tasks. The series of memory tasks comprised tests of verbal and visual stimuli, such as differentiating white and red squares positioned around a fixed point on a black background. All the while researchers measured brain activity and examined changes in blood flow depending on the areas of the brain with higher energy use. "The behavioural response to the tasks in the experiment was almost the same in both groups, but brain activity was different and T1D patients showed a lower cortical activation than those in controlled groups," said lead author Joan Guardia-Olmos. The type 1 diabetes cohort exhibited poorer cognitive performance in the task with verbal stimuli, and the researchers hypothesise this was due to the autoimmune disease. "These different activation patterns could be due to adaptive compensation mechanisms that are devoted to improving efficiency while solving more complex cognitive tasks," said the researchers. They add the changes in brain activation patterns could be caused by the lack of insulin, and state that further research should seek to validate and understand these findings. "If these results are confirmed, it is important to design maintenance programs on maintenance of cognitive activity for people with this diseas Continue reading >>