Could Diabetes Trigger Dementia? People With Type 2 Suffer 'memory Loss And Declining Decision-making Skills'
People with type 2 diabetes lose brain power as their ability to regulate blood flow drops, research suggests. A study by experts at Harvard Medical School suggests that the impact can be seen in memory and cognition tests - with the decrease in thinking skills dropping over just two years. Some 3.5 million people in Britain are thought to have type two diabetes - an increase of 62 per cent in the last nine years. The dramatic increase in the disease, which now affects one in every 16 adults in the country, is linked to spiralling rates of obesity and lack of exercise. The US researchers tracked 40 people over two years, and found a significant decrease in cognitive power, which impacted their ability to cook and bathe themselves. Study leader Dr Vera Novak, whose work was published in the journal Neurology, said: ‘Normal blood flow regulation allows the brain to redistribute blood to areas of the brain that have increased activity while performing certain tasks. ‘People with type two diabetes have impaired blood flow regulation. ‘Our results suggest that diabetes and high blood sugar impose a chronic negative effect on cognitive and decision-making skills.’ The study involved 40 people with an average age of 66. Of those, 19 had type two diabetes and 21 did not have diabetes. At the beginning of the study the participants were tested for cognition and memory, given MRI scans to look at brain volume and blood flow, and blood tests to measure control of blood sugar and inflammation. After two years, they were tested again – and those with diabetes showed marked decreases in their ability to regulate blood flow in the brain. They also had lower scores on several tests of memory and thinking skills - and found it harder to carry out daily tasks such as bathing an Continue reading >>
Mom’s Diabetes May Affect Child’s Brain
Blood sugar may influence a critical period in the development of the hippocampus The many pregnant women who have diabetes or develop it during pregnancy have another reason control their blood sugar: Abnormal glucose levels could affect their child’s memory, and damage might not be reversible. A continuing study based at the University of Minnesota has tested children of diabetic mothers from day one through age 8 (and counting) and found consistent problems with their memory; specifically, their ability to recognize their mother’s voice (at birth), face (at 6 months), and sequences of actions (ages 3 and up). Researchers suspect that the impairment is caused by damage to the hippocampus, which rapidly develops during the third trimester of pregnancy. “If the glucose levels in the mother fluctuate greatly … the fetus will also have high fluctuations in their glucose levels, which then leads to iron deficiency and oxygen deficiency” to the brain, says Tracy DeBoer of the University of California at Davis, one of the researchers. These deficiencies have been shown in animals to be especially damaging to hippocampus development, she says. Much of our ability to remember the events we experience (called episodic memory) depends on the hippocampus, a small, metabolically active structure tucked deep into each hemisphere of the brain. “Other research has shown that infants of diabetic mothers, when they do reach school age, have ‘poor cognitive outcomes,’ and that’s a very global term,” DeBoer says. “We’re really trying to be more neurally specific,” to pinpoint which aspects of memory might be affected. A Battery of Tests The study is part of a 20-year collaboration. Neonatologist Michael Georgieff at the University of Minnesota noticed that infan Continue reading >>
How Blood Sugar Affects Memory
Preserving memory can be a challenge for many of us. While some people always seem to be sharp and have that coveted snapshot memory, others are lucky to remember where they have put their keys. Most of us want a better memory but to start, we need to preserve what we have. This, however, is much easier said than done. Are there ways to preserve our memory? According to a recent study, researchers have identified one way in which our memory can be degraded. The results shed new light on how glucose regulation changes as we age as well as how people with Type 2 diabetes need to be even more diligent about regulating their blood sugar. Be Careful With Blood Sugar Researchers suggest that when your body experiences a spike in blood sugar, your memory can be affected. Yet, how does this occur exactly? It was found that this spike affects a part of the brain called the dentate gyrus. This is contained in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that functions, in part, to aid in memory formation. Ageing and Glucose When glucose spiked, the dentate gyrus was impacted. In fact, even moderate spikes can affect the dentate gyrus. It is this finding in particular that correlates with the memory decline we see as people age. As we get older, our ability to regulate glucose tends to decrease, leading to some of the memory decline often associated with the elderly. Mapping the Brain To conduct the study, researchers mapped out the brain areas of several hundred elderly participants. They found that higher blood glucose levels were linked to a decreased blood volume in the dentate gyrus. When they purposefully changed blood sugar levels in mice and monkeys, they were able to confirm their finding from the elderly subjects. The ultimate result is that it's not only the elderly who are imp Continue reading >>
15 Ways High Blood Sugar Affects Your Body
High blood sugar symptoms Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. Blood levels of this energy source ebb and flow naturally, depending what you eat (and how much), as well as when you eat it. But when something goes wrong—and cells aren't absorbing the glucose—the resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, setting the stage for dangerous complications. Normal blood-sugar readings typically fall between 60 mg/dl and 140 mg/dl. A blood test called a hemoglobin A1c measures average blood sugar levels over the previous three months. A normal reading is below 5.7% for people without diabetes. An excess of glucose in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, is a sign of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin, the hormone needed to ferry sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn’t use insulin properly and you can end up with too much or too little insulin. Either way, without proper treatment, toxic amounts of sugar can build up in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc head to toe. That’s why it’s so important to get your blood sugar levels in check. “If you keep glucose levels near normal, you reduce the risk of diabetes complications,” says Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. Here’s a rundown of the major complications and symptoms of high blood sugar. No symptoms at all Often, high blood sugar causes no (obvious) symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That's why it’s a good idea to get your blood sugar test Continue reading >>
Effects Of Glucose On The Brain
Though there is a great amount of attention given to the effects of diabetes on the peripheral nervous system, it is important not to overlook the disease’s effects on our brains. While other organs in the body may rely on alternative sources of energy, such as fatty acids, the brain relies almost solely on glucose, using ketones as a last resort. For this reason, the blood brain barrier is rich in Glut1 active glucose transporters, and over 99% of the glucose that passes it is used by neurons and glia. Thus, the metabolic efficiency and continuous demands of the brain render it uniquely susceptible to fluctuations in glucose concentration in the body. As we discuss in this chapter, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia both can have detrimental effects on cognition as well as mood. These effects are evident in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The most common manifestations of cognitive deficit are neural slowing, attention deficit, and executive functioning. Patients with type 2 diabetes in particular do more poorly in measures of learning and memory . It is important to note that in a hospital setting patients without diabetes can become hyperglycemic, and these patients have an increased mortality risk . Stress induced hyperglycemia in patients without diabetes can occur during periods of acute illness and may be due to hormonal cascades, particularly increases in epinephrine, cortisol, growth hormone and glucagon . Patients may have “pre-diabetes”, or may have frank diabetes that is undiagnosed. Among hyperglycemic patients in general medicine wards, one study found that 12% were undiagnosed, and that they had 18.3 times the mortality rate of their normoglycemic peers. These patients also had longer hospital stays, were admitted to the ICU more often, Continue reading >>
High Blood Sugar Levels Linked To Memory Loss
People with higher blood sugar levels scored lower on memory tests, even though their levels were technically still considered ‘normal’ Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, higher blood sugar levels appear to have a negative influence on cognition As you over-indulge on sugar and grains, your brain may become overwhelmed by the consistently high levels of blood sugar and insulin and leptin. Eventually insulin and leptin signaling becomes compromised, leading to impairments in your thinking and memory, and eventually even causing permanent brain damage By Dr. Mercola Many people now associate elevated blood sugar levels with diabetes or even pre-diabetes, but new research has highlighted a little-known adverse effect of higher blood sugar levels that can impair your brain – even if your levels are technically still within a ‘normal’ range. The study – an extremely important one considering the epidemic of people with out-of-control blood sugar metabolism – showed that lower blood sugar levels are associated with better brain function and may even help you avoid age-related declines in memory. Higher ‘Normal’ Blood Sugar Levels Linked to Memory Loss It’s already known that people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment, including dementia. However, the new study involved people (with an average age of 63) who were free from diabetes and pre-diabetes (or impaired glucose intolerance). Still, even among this group, those with higher blood sugar levels scored lower on memory tests. For each 7-mmol/mol increase in HbA1c (a measure of damage caused by elevated blood glucose), participants recalled two fewer words on memory tests.1 Those with higher blood sugar levels also had lower Continue reading >>
What Eating Too Much Sugar Does To Your Brain
Overeating, poor memory formation, learning disorders, depression -- all have been linked in recent research to the over-consumption of sugar. And these linkages point to a problem that is only beginning to be better understood: what our chronic intake of added sugar is doing to our brains. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That's five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each. If you find that hard to believe, that's probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we're consuming. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories -- nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet. The key word in all of the stats is "added." While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we're chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods. That's an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function. Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements. This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain's enemy -- added sugar is. Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can't form new memories and we can't learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism--diabetics and pre-diabe Continue reading >>
High-sugar Diet Can Impair Learning And Memory By Altering Gut Bacteria
lynac/Flickr The typical American diet is loaded with fat and sugar, and it may be hurting not only our physical health, but also our ability to think clearly. New research from Oregon State University finds a high-sugar, high-fat diet causes changes in gut bacteria that seem to lead to significant losses in cognitive flexibility, a measurement of the brain’s ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another, and to adapt to changes in the environment. The study, which was conducted on mice and published this week in the journal Neuroscience, found that a high-sugar diet was particularly detrimental to brain function, leading not only to decreased cognitive flexibility but also to impairments in short- and long-term memory. “We’ve known for a while that too much fat and sugar are not good for you,” Dr. Kathy Magnusson, a biomedical scientist at the university and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “This work suggests that fat and sugar are altering your healthy bacterial systems, and that’s one of the reasons those foods aren’t good for you. It’s not just the food that could be influencing your brain, but an interaction between the food and microbial changes.” As Magnusson suggests, the findings aren’t entirely surprising. They’re the latest to join a growing body of research that has shown that the trillions of bacteria living in the gut can have a major influence on brain function and mental health. The upshot? Diet could play an important role in neurological and mental health, both for better and for worse. The Experiment For the study, the researchers fed groups of mice a high-fat diet, a high-sugar diet or a normal diet, and gave them tests measuring various physical and mental functions. To assess changes to the gu Continue reading >>
How Blood Sugar Levels Affect Your Brain And What To Do About It
How blood sugar levels affect your brain and what to do about it When Diane Abbott came under fire over her poor performance in recent interviews , few people outside of her immediate circlewould have suspected that diabetes was a contributing factor. The 63-year-old Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years ago. Speaking to the Guardian, she said:"During the election campaign, everything went crazy - and the diabetes was out of control, the blood sugar was out of control." She said her brother had raised concerns after seeing her struggling: "He said 'that is not Diane', because ever since I've been a child I've had a great memory for figures, and he said he knew it was my blood sugar and gave me a lecture about eating and having glucose tablets." Diane Abbott experienced problems as a result of type 2 diabetesCredit:EPA/ANDY RAIN She added: "It is a condition you can manage. I am doing that now and I feel ready to get back to work." In diabetes, the body is not able to to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which resultsin abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and higher levels of glucose in the blood. Some people with type 2 diabetesuseinsulin or certain types of tablets to control the condition, which can bring on episodes of hypoglycaemia, whereblood glucose levels become very low. People experiencing hypoglycaemia will usually feel shaky, weak and hungry - and the condition can cause significant cognitive impairment. 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 >>
Drop In Sugar Levels In The Brain 'could Lead To Memory Loss And Eventual Alzheimer's'
Glucose is a fuel for the hippocampus which plays a key role in processing and storing memories. It and other regions of the brain rely exclusively on glucose for fuel and without glucose, neurons starve and eventually die. The brain is fuel hungry as it accounts for just two per cent of body weight but consumes a fifth of all absorbed daily calories. Yet one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer's is a decline in glucose levels in the brain and this appears in the early stages of mild cognitive impairment, before symptoms of memory problems begin to surface. But scientists have been divided whether this was a cause or consequence of the neurological dysfunction. The new study by Temple University in Philadelphia showed unequivocally that glucose deprivation in the brain triggers the onset of cognitive decline, affecting memory in particular. And this may explain why diabetics are more at risk of dementia as long-term small decreases in glucose leads to brain damage. Professor Dr Domenico Praticò at the at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine said: "There is a high likelihood that those types of episodes are related to diabetes, which is a condition in which glucose cannot enter the cell. "Insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes is a known risk factor for dementia. "In recent years, advances in imaging techniques, especially positron emission tomography (PET), have allowed researchers to look for subtle changes in the brains of patients with different degrees of cognitive impairment. "One of the changes that has been consistently reported is a decrease in glucose availability in the hippocampus." The study was the first to directly link memory impairment to glucose deprivation in the brain specifically through a mechanism involving the accumulation of a protein known as phosph Continue reading >>
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High Blood Sugar May Affect Memory In Some People
Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help keep blood sugar at a healthy level. People who didn't have type 2 diabetes but had blood sugar at the high end of the normal range performed worse on memory tests than those with lower blood sugar, a study out Wednesday shows. Researchers in Germany recruited 141 people, average age 63, who did not have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, and they showed no signs of memory problems. The study participants took a series of memory tests and had their blood sugar tested. They also had brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus area, which plays an important role in memory. Researcher Agnes Flöel of Charité University Medicine in Berlin says she and her colleagues "correlated long-term blood-sugar levels with the number of words people could recall on a memory test." She says they found that higher long-term blood-sugar levels went along with being able to recall fewer words. "We also found that people with higher blood-sugar levels had smaller volumes in the size of their hippocampus," she says. Flöel says the findings, reported in the medical journal Neurology, published by the American Academy of Neurology, suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their levels might be a possible way to prevent memory problems as they age. She points out that the study is relatively small and doesn't prove cause and effect. There's a need for large clinical trials to test whether lowering glucose will help with the prevention of dementia, she says. Robert Ratner, the chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, says it's important to realize that this study shows an "association. They are looking at a single glucose level in time and memory. They haven't sho Continue reading >>
Elevated Blood Sugar Shrinks The Brain
Studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between changes in size of the brains memory center, the hippocampus, and declining memory function. So it’s obviously in our great interest to do everything we possibly can to preserve the size of hippocampus, which is to say, prevent hippocampal atrophy. It has become clear that there is a powerful direct relationship between not only fasting blood sugar, but even average blood sugar, in terms of predicting the rate at which the hippocampus will shrink and therefore memory will decline. In a new report, recently published in the journal Neurology, researchers in Germany evaluated a group of 141 individuals, average age 63 years, with memory testing as well as a specific type of MRI scan of the brain to measure the size of the hippocampus in each participant. At the same time they looked at blood sugar levels as well as average blood sugar, by assessing a blood test called hemoglobin A1 c. What these researchers discovered was really quite profound. There was a perfect correlation between having lower blood sugar as well as lower average blood sugar as measured by an A1c test and several markers of brain function. As the authors stated “lower A1c and glucose levels were significantly associated with better scores in delayed recall, learning ability, and memory consolidation.” They found that the average blood sugar, the A1c “strongly associated with memory performance.” The authors also were able to draw a conclusion between blood sugar and reduction in size of the hippocampus. The conclusion of the research stated “our results indicate that even in the absence of manifest type II diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance, chronically higher blood glucose levels exert a negative influence on Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose And The Brain: Sugar And Short-term Memory
Millions of older adults suffer from significant memory loss, despite the lack of a diagnosis of dementia-causing disease. This memory loss can lead to a significant decline in quality of life and often remains undiagnosed and untreated. Recently, however, scientists have begun to study the role of glucose regulation in cognitive enhancement of adults. Cognitive function and short-term memory retrieval in middle-aged and older adults may now be linked to blood sugar levels. The brain’s primary source of fuel is glucose, unlike other organs that have multiple fuel sources. Research has long shown that ingesting drinks or foods with high glucose content before high-demand short-term memory tasks improves cognitive performance. However, people with better blood-sugar regulation performed better on the tests than those with poor glucose regulation. In other words, the faster people metabolized blood sugar, the better their memory functioned. Moderate increases in blood glucose are effective in enhancing short-term memory performance and cognitive functioning across an array of domains, but while a little glucose is good, too much can be bad. Sustained elevations in blood sugar levels, as seen in conditions including impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, lead to a decline in cognitive functioning. Simply, the longer that the glucose remains in the blood, the less fuel the brain has to function and retain memories. These findings are owed, at least in part, to the fact that glucose affects the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory. In one small study, people with high blood sugar levels actually had a smaller hippocampus than those with normal glucose regulation. Any type of insult or injury to the brain, including high blood sugar, easi Continue reading >>
Will Type 2 Diabetes Affect My Memory?
Diabetes does cause memory loss. It may not be a progressive process that is clinical Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but it can happen related to the acute symptoms of diabetes. Interestingly, Alzheimer’s disease has been called “Type 3 Diabetes” or “Alzheimer ’s disease of the Brain” lately. In this article, we will look at how your diabetes affects memory and when and why this happens. To do this, we need to understand the four different types of memory loss. Also, looking at the symptoms and causes of memory loss will be helpful as we seek to learn how our Type 2 Diabetes may affect our memory. To further break it down, we will look at the two types of memory loss that results from Type 2 Diabetes, short and long-term memory loss. Types of memory loss or amnesia There are four different types of memory loss. The two that are most common, and that you may have heard of, are short-term memory loss and long-term memory loss. The other two types of memory loss, sensory memory loss and working memory loss, may not be as well-known. However, they are important to the preservation of human memory, thought and cognitive processes. As with many parts of the human body, memory loss is a complex issue. It involves many different factors, of which Type 2 Diabetes is one. Short-term memory loss The first sign of cognitive decline and one of the first symptoms of memory loss is short-term memory loss. I see this with my mother, when she doesn’t remember my dog’s name, or anything about the story that I just told her related to when I got him, how old he is, and all those details about pets that people may ask. Forgetting where they placed everyday objects, or forgetting what they went into a room to get can become an everyday occurrence. A set of keys becomes m Continue reading >>