Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which blood glucose levels are too high, which causes various diseases and symptoms.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, and type 1 is a congenital disease in which the pancreas does not secrete insulin at all.
In the case of type 2, insulin is secreted, but the function of insulin gradually decreases due to various reasons.
Although type 1 diabetes is a congenital disease, the family history is higher in type 2 diabetes.
The most common causes of type 2 diabetes after the age of 40 are overweight and obesity.
It is known that the cognitive function of the brain decreases with type 2 diabetes. There is some accumulated scientific evidence to support this.
Of course, when you reach middle age, your cognitive function weakens due to aging of the brain.
However, a study found that people with type 2 diabetes accelerated brain aging by about 26%.
This means that if you have type 2 diabetes, the cognitive function of the brain, which is otherwise falling off, deteriorates more quickly.
In addition, it was confirmed that brain tissue was damaged a lot even before type 2 diabetes was confirmed.
The results of this study conducted by scientists at Stony Brook University in New York, USA were published as a thesis in the scientific journal ‘eLife’ on the 25th (local time).
Brain aging usually begins in middle age.
Therefore, in the case of type 2 diabetes patients entering middle age, it is difficult to ascertain how much the brain aging is aggravated by diabetes.
The research team received data from about 20,000 registrants aged 50 to 80 from the UK Biobank, which has the largest amount of data on brain structure and brain function.
By analyzing this dataset, which includes brain scan images and brain function measurements, we identified changes in brain structure and cognitive ability directly related to type 2 diabetes.
Scientists verified the results of the primary analysis through meta-analysis of more than 100 other papers.
Whether you have type 2 diabetes or get older, brain function declines the same.
In other words, there have been marked changes in the brain’s executive functions and processing speed, such as ‘working memory’, the ability to learn, and flexible thinking.
However, the brain’s executive function and processing speed were 6.7% weaker in type 2 diabetes patients than in healthy people of the same age.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, gray matter in the ventral striatum, which plays an important role in executive function, decreased by 6.2%, and gray matter was also reduced in other areas of the brain.
Taken together, the pattern of brain neurodegeneration caused by type 2 diabetes overlaps with that of old age.
Still, with type 2 diabetes, the rate of neurodegeneration accelerated and the impact on brain function was even greater.
In fact, continued diabetes resulted in a 26% accelerated brain aging.
The researchers noted that the pattern of neurodegeneration with aging is very similar to that caused by type 2 diabetes.
This is because it suggests that the aging of the brain, which comes naturally with age, is not related to the deterioration of the glucose (glucose) control function of insulin.
It is also significant that significant brain structural changes can occur before the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
This means that it is urgent to develop an efficient screening method that detects changes in the brain structure associated with diabetes in advance, for example, a brain-based biomarker for type 2 diabetes.
Doctoral researcher Botond Antal, who was the first author of the paper, said, “When diagnosing diabetes, blood sugar level, insulin level, body mass, etc. are usually checked, but the neurological effect of type 2 diabetes has been shown for many years. When this is confirmed, there may have already been brain damage that is difficult to recover from.”