Diabetes and Weight Can Combine To Alter the Brain

A study has found that overly obese people with early-stage type 2 diabetes have more severe abnormalities in their brain structure and cognition than do type 2 diabetics with normal weight measures.

The study, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

"There's a general agreement that having type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for various types of both structural and functional abnormalities in the brain."

Dr. Donald C. Simonson, co-author of the study and an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes, says that simple obesity shows similar abnormalities to type 2 diabetics in brain changes. Combining obesity with diabetes, however, exacerbates the issue.

"So, if you have both, will it be worse than if you have them alone? That's what we looked at in this particular study," said Simonson. The study considered 50 normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes and then age and sex matched to another group of non-diabetics. Using magnetic resonance imagine (MRI), the researchers examined brain structure in the participants. In addition, participants were tested for memory, psychomotor speed, and executive function.

The results found that clusters of gray matter were significantly thinner in the temporal, prefrontoparietal, motor, and occipital lobes in the brains of diabetic participants than in the non-diabetic group. Even more thinning was found in those who were both type 2 diabetics and overweight.

"Most of the things we looked at, you could see that there was a progression, and the obese patients with diabetes were worse than the lean patients with diabetes, and they were both worse than the age-matched controls," Simonson said in the paper's press release.

Brain degradation for obeses type 2 diabetics, the researchers point out, are very similar to those with Alzheimer's.

Source: Springer.com

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