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. rv air conditioner service near me


    May 27, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. camera repair california

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!


    May 27, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. camper frame repair


    May 27, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. remodeling motorhome interior


    May 27, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. prostar collision


    May 27, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Supplies Near Me


    May 27, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. maintenance shops near me

    Good article. I am dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    May 27, 2021 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Remodeling Riverside


    May 28, 2021 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. motorhome body shop

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it. I have you book marked to check out new things you post…


    May 28, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV TV Riverside


    May 28, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Interior Designer Riverside

    This site definitely has all the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 28, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. remodeling rv interior


    May 28, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Merilyn Meger

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


    May 28, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Seats Los Angeles

    Very good post. I'm facing a few of these issues as well..


    May 28, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Tires Los Angeles

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    May 28, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. orange near me

    I'm very pleased to find this site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new information on your blog.


    May 28, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Seats Los Angeles

    Can I simply just say what a relief to uncover someone that genuinely knows what they're talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people should read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you certainly possess the gift.


    May 28, 2021 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv parts orange county


    May 28, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. camper repair near me

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to send this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    May 28, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. vinyl wrap motorhome

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


    May 28, 2021 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Sound System Orange County

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is very good.


    May 28, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their sites.


    May 28, 2021 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Cargo Van Repair


    May 29, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Commercial Truck Repair

    Howdy, I do believe your site may be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!


    May 29, 2021 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dollar Tea Club

    best i have ever seen!Hello, always i used to check webpage posts here early in the daylight, for the reason that i love to gain knowledge of more and more.


    May 30, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. tea for spring

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


    May 30, 2021 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Marketing Companies


    May 30, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Baton Rouge Fence Company LA

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    May 30, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Milford Milligan

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


    May 30, 2021 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Carpet Cleaning Spokane

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    May 30, 2021 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. SEO Marketing Service


    May 30, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rekey Palo Alto

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    May 30, 2021 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Emergency Locksmith Las Vegas

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.


    May 30, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. airsoft guns

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    May 30, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. AC Repair in Miami, FL

    Thank You for your information. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    May 30, 2021 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. USA HVAC Services

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    May 30, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. SEO Marketing Experts

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 30, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Emergency RV Repair Near Me

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 31, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Van Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Fiberglass Repair Near Me

    I enjoy reading through a post that can make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    May 31, 2021 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Stephen Kensinger

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


    May 31, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Roof Repair Near Me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 31, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Fridge Repair Near Me

    Greetings, I do believe your site may be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent website!


    May 31, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Toyota Cargo Van Repair

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 31, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ford Cargo Van Repair

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    May 31, 2021 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Dodge Sprinter Service Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Michele Risler

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 1, 2021 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Collision Repair Shop

    Right here is the perfect website for everyone who would like to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    June 1, 2021 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. good sam rv repair

    Can I just say what a relief to find a person that genuinely understands what they're talking about on the web. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people have to read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you aren't more popular given that you surely have the gift.


    June 1, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. where to buy rv furniture


    June 1, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


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.