Brain volume affected by glycaemia in diabetics, according to study

Wed, 12 Oct 2011
Scientists in the United States have shown that people who have type 1 diabetes that are exposed to hyperglycaemia could experience a reduction in brain development, and that severe hypoglycemia was also associated with more reduction in brain volume.

The study, which was published in Diabetes, examined changes to different parts of the brain dependent on how much exposure to glycaemic extremes for youths with type 1 diabetes. The patients went through brain neuroimaging testing a couple of years later when blood glucose control measurements were taken.

The team, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, investigated extremes of glycaemia and changes in grey and white matter volume in the brain, once other factors, such as age, gender and age of diabetes onset were taken into account.

Patients with type 1 diabetes that had more hyperglycaemia showed a substantially greater reduction in whole brain grey matter than those with less hyperglycaemia, while the amount of occipital/parietal white matter went down significantly more for those patients who experienced severe hypoglycaemia as compared with those without the problem.

The study claimed that, "Within diabetes, exposure to hyperglycaemia and severe hypoglycaemia may result in subtle deviation from normal developmental trajectories of the brain."
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