Type 2 diabetes may shrink brain tissue, lead to cognitive disorders

diabetes illus250x03 Type 2 diabetes may shrink brain tissue, lead to cognitive disordersLong-term type 2 diabetes may shrink gray matter, the portion of the brain responsible for memory, emotions, decision-making and self control, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology. For each decade a person has diabetes, his brain looks about two years older than a non-diabetic, researchers found.

For the study, researchers with the University of Pennsylvania analyzed MRI scans to evaluate brain structure of more than 600 patients with type 2 diabetes. They were surprised to find that diabetes was not linked to just the damaging effect of the tiny blood vessels in the brain, but by how the brain handles excess sugar.

Diabetes is associated with a host of other health problems including stroke and dementia. Researchers initially thought these risks were related to blood vessel damage caused by diabetes. But the study suggests that the disease causes additional damage to the brain more like a brain disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers say it is important for diabetics to understand the adverse effects the disease has on their brains and the importance of working with their doctors to control the disorder.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder in which the body does not produce enough or any insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Most diabetics require medication to keep their blood glucose levels in check. These medications, while beneficial, often carry cancer risks.

For example, the drug Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and the drugs Byetta and Januvia have been associated with acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Source: King 5