People with slightly elevated but not unhealthy levels of sugar in their blood are more likely to perform worse on memory tests than people with lower levels, according to a new study.
Previous studies have shown that people with blood sugar disorders such as pre-diabetes and diabetes are more likely to have poor brain function and dementia. A team of researchers led by Agnes Floel, a neurologist at Charite University Medicine in Berlin, set out to see if the same was true for people with slightly higher – but still considered normal – blood sugar levels.
The study involved 141 people between 50 and 80 years of age. None of the participants had diabetes or memory problems, nor were any heavy drinkers or obese. Participants had blood taken after at least 10 hours without food and had an MRI brain scan. They all were then given a memory test.
Researchers found that overall people with higher levels of blood sugar performed worse on the memory tests than those with lower levels of sugar in their blood. Participants’ hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for memory, was also smaller in those with high blood sugar levels.
The differences were small and did not account for age-related memory problems. Convit said that the best defense is for people to follow a healthy diet and get exercise in order to keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Doing so, he said, “will at least be good for your heart – if not for your brain.”
The body regulates the amount of sugar – or glucose – in the blood by releasing insulin. People with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin so they must take medication to keep their blood sugar in check. Diabetes medication is a lifelong commitment, however drugs to treat the condition can have dangerous side effects.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that studies showed that Actos had been linked to bladder cancer. The risk was higher in patients who took the drug for a year or more. More recent studies have also linked the drugs Januvia and Byetta to pancreas problems including acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Source: Fox News