Is diabetes shrinking my brain?
April 29th, 2014
08:51 AM ET

Is diabetes shrinking my brain?

It's not a secret that some diabetics also have memory issues, but a new study suggests it's not just due to clogging of blood vessels - your brain may actually be shrinking.

When the brain shrinks, it's often because valuable brain cells that help us think and remember are dying. A loss of brain cells is a hallmark for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

In this new study, published in the journal Radiology, researchers looked at brain scans from a little more than 600 people age 55 and older with type 2 diabetes.  They found that patients who lived with diabetes the longest had smaller brain volumes.

"When you lose brain cells, you lose the capacity for more complex thoughts and memory," says Dr. R. Nick Bryan, lead author of the study.

"Diabetes may be a risk factor for things like Alzheimer's disease," says Bryan, chair and professor emeritus at the Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. " We didn't prove that, but we suggest that."

Up until about five years ago, experts thought memory and cognitive problems related to diabetes were largely due to problems with blood clots in the brain. But Bryan's new imaging study builds on other research, which points to brain shrinkage as a potentially stronger link to the development of cognitive decline in diabetics.

"Somehow diabetes is doing something to the brain that results in tissue loss (death of cells)," says Dr. Rosebud Roberts, professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved with this new research.

Roberts says scientists are still trying to understand why cells are dying. Their best guess is that it's related to both too little and too much glucose in the brain.  Glucose is the brain's food and when you have diabetes, brain cells may not be getting enough nutrients, so they can die. Another possibility is that too much glucose in the brain can also kill cells.

The brain of a diabetic "metabolizes glucose and oxygen differently than people who don't have diabetes," says Bryan, because destructive free radicals are possibly produced.

"Diabetes can lead to what is in essence a faster aging process," says Dr. Gail Musen, investigator at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who was also not involved in this new research.

Her advice to diabetics is to keep the condition under control: "Exercise, eat right, go to your doctor, lose weight if you need to and take your medicine." These lifestyle changes won't prevent the brain shrinkage, Musen says, but they will slow down the process - and the sooner you start, the better.

« Previous entry
soundoff (843 Responses)
  1. Roofing Raleigh

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.


    May 15, 2021 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Fence Contractor Baton Rouge LA

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.


    May 15, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Carpet Cleaning Spokane

    This blog is great check it out


    May 15, 2021 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Elite Radon Solutions Lexington KY

    thanks for sharing!


    May 15, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Flooring companies Pittsburgh PA

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    May 15, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. rekey Palo Alto

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks


    May 15, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. emergency locksmith St. Louis

    I really like this post


    May 15, 2021 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Montes HVAC Consultant LLC

    This blog is great check it out


    May 15, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Carpet cleaning Silver

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks


    May 15, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. truck modification shop near me


    May 15, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Maserati Ghibli Lease Deal

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the best websites on the internet. I most certainly will highly recommend this web site!


    May 15, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Opthamologist Near Me

    Good article. I'm facing a few of these issues as well..


    May 15, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. stornobrzinol

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.


    May 15, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Social Media Marketing Agency


    May 15, 2021 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Google Marketing Agencies

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you ought to write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!


    May 15, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Digital Marketing Reviews

    bookmarked!!, I love your site!


    May 15, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Internet Marketing Pro

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 16, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Handicap Van Ramp Repair

    I could not resist commenting. Well written!


    May 16, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. how to play on private aika server


    May 16, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. good sam rv insurance phone number

    May I just say what a comfort to find an individual who really understands what they're discussing on the internet. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people really need to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular given that you certainly have the gift.


    May 16, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Merle Bodrey

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/03/photos-of-large-airlines-diverting-to-yokota-air-base-due-to-earthquake-in-tokyo/


    May 16, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Maserati Biturbo For Sale


    May 16, 2021 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me


    May 17, 2021 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Freightliner Sprinter Repair Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the site is really good.


    May 17, 2021 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Quentin Aldape

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs


    May 17, 2021 at 05:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Freightliner Sprinter Repair Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 17, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Maserati Dealer Ma


    May 17, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Doug Moratto

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/10/ryanair-is-giving-away-free-seats-seriously/


    May 17, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Maserati Ghibli Sq4 For Sale

    Can I simply say what a relief to discover a person that actually knows what they're discussing on the web. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular because you surely possess the gift.


    May 17, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. oc vacuum

    You made some good points there. I looked on the net for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 18, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. esurance repair shops

    bookmarked!!, I love your site!


    May 18, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv parts san diego


    May 18, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. heating & air conditioning companies near me

    Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 18, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Forklift Rental Los Angeles

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 18, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Social Media Marketing Review


    May 18, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 2017 Maserati Convertible

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.


    May 18, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Used Forklift Rental California


    May 18, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Social Media Marketing Consultant

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this web site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!


    May 18, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Eye Center Near Me

    Great information. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 19, 2021 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. 2003 Maserati Coupe Gt

    I need to to thank you for this good read!! I definitely loved every bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to look at new things you post…


    May 19, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Raymon Nici

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/11/today-starts-tsas-secure-flight-are-you-ready/


    May 19, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 2017 Maserati Ghibli S

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to write more about this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but generally people don't discuss such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!


    May 19, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Internet Marketing Services California


    May 19, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Roofing Store Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Spa Companies

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!


    May 19, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Lake Powell Jet Ski Rental H20Zone

    Howdy! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you have got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    May 19, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. best rv repair

    That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 19, 2021 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. camera shop california


    May 19, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Repair Dash Ac Vents Sprinter

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your internet site.


    May 19, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Camera Los Angeles

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 19, 2021 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.