Diabetes Shrinks Elderly Brain

ScienceDaily (May 7, 2012) — Elderly people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes suffer from an accelerated decline in brain size and mental capacity in as little as two years according to new research presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy.

An Australian research team led by Associate Professor Katherine Samaras (Garvan Institute of Medical Research) found that the aging brain is vulnerable to worsening blood sugar levels even before type 2 diabetes is diagnosable.

While some brain volume loss is a normal part of aging, the researchers found that elderly people with blood sugar levels in flux, as well as type 2 diabetes, lost almost two and a half times more brain volume than their peers over two years. The reduction in size of the frontal lobe — associated with higher mental functions like decision-making, emotional control, and long term memory — has a significant impact on cognitive function and quality of life. Read More