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 probl Continue reading