High Blood Sugar Linked to Reduced Brain Growth: MRI Study

Every year as the holidays approach, pages are published about the havoc overindulgence will wreak upon your waistline. But perhaps taking a more holistic approach–body and mind–would be more apt, according to a new research.

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels have a direct impact on the brain, a new MRI study has learned. Certain areas of the brain have been found to grow more slowly in children with Type I diabetes than in those without the disease. The researchers also found High blood sugar linked to slower brain development: MRI studythat the slowest brain growth occurred in children with the highest blood sugar and the most fluctuations in blood sugar.

The Stanford study, Longitudinal Assessment of Neuroanatomical and Cognitive Differences in Children with Type I Diabetes, used MRI scanning to compare the brains of 144 young children with Type I diabetes and a control group of 72 children without over an 18-month period. The studies showed slower growth rates of white and gray matter in the brains of the diabetic children.

Lead study author Dr. Allan Reiss was surprised by the results: “I actually thought the differences would be more subtle–they were not,” he said.

Although the findings are unfortunate for anyone–especially children with developing brains–with diabetes, Reiss added that vigilance over blood sugar levels could make all the difference.

“The human brain, and in particular a child’s brain, is remarkably resilient and has the capacity for functional compensation in the face of adverse circumstances,” he said.


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