Diabetes Has Effect on Brain Growth

Some parts of the brain have been demonstrated to grow at a slower pace in children that have Type 1 diabetes according to the results of a new study. This study was done by researchers at the University of Iowa. By looking at diabetes studies, the researchers were able to determine that the children that had the highest blood sugar levels were the most likely to experience the slowest rates of brain growth.


This study has been published by the American Diabetes Association. The findings also demonstrate that low glucose levels aren’t the only dangers for diabetic children. More attention also needs to be given to the risks that are associated with high blood sugar levels. The study reviewed the brain structure and cognitive function of roughly 150 children that had been previously diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. A second group was made for comparison of children that did not have diabetes.


By looking at MRI scans over a period of 1.5 years, the researchers were able to track the brain development of all of the children. The scans indicated that the diabetic children experienced slower brain growth in several areas of the brain. Type 1 diabetes children differ significantly in the total and region gray and white matter growth in the brain. Most affected are areas that involve complex sensorimotor processing and cognition.


As an additional part of the study, the researchers evaluated the brain function of the study participants by issuing IQ, memory, learning, mood and behavior tests. In reviewing the results, the researchers were not able to determine any differences between the non-diabetic and diabetic children groups. However, the researchers plan to continue to study the children for at least five more years in order to determine if any difference do emerge in the structure and function of the brain.


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