Controlling blood sugar levels in could boost memory and emotional processing in non-diabetics, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology.
The Australian study involved nearly 250 non-diabetic men and women, and found those with high blood sugar levels tended to have shrinking in specific areas of the brain. Researchers say the results remained consistent even after considerations were made for lifestyle factors such as smoking and weight.
Previous research has already linked diabetes to age-related cognitive decline. Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally high. Almost all patients with the disease rely on medication to control their blood sugar, which can be a continuous struggle for some.
Even patients who can control their diabetes with medication, side effects must be considered. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of Avandia after the drug was linked to fatal heart attacks. In 2011, the FDA issued a warning that Actos had been linked to bladder cancer.
What is different with the new study than with previous ones on the effects of high blood sugar on the brain is that the new research suggests controlling blood sugar levels could actually boost cognitive health in non-diabetics.
The reasons why still baffle researchers. Some say that blood sugar can help regulate the boy’s inflammatory response, which is a condition that has been linked to brain shrinkage. Others say that high sugar levels make the blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can create blockages in the brain.
However blood sugar levels affect the brain, researchers say the take-home message is that healthy eating keeps blood sugar levels in check. And even non-diabetic patients with high blood sugar should consider adopting the American Diabetes Association diet, which is aimed at keeping blood sugar levels at a normal level.
Source: ABC News