Diabetes Can Shrink Your Brain

By | May 29, 2014

diabetes-sugar-brainHaving type 2 diabetes (mellitus) in midlife can cause brain atrophy, memory loss, and cognitive impairment as an older adult, according to a recent study published in the journal Neurology.

Over 1,430 adults (average age 80) were recruited from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a multi-year project designed to investigate risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia. Researchers then assessed each participant a variety of known risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other vascular health measures.

It turns out that having type 2 diabetes in midlife (think 30s to 50s) was a primary risk factor for cognitive impairment and loss of brain volume in critical areas for memory, compared to study participants that did not have diabetes in midlife.

The Neurology study confirms a growing body of evidence that choices we make throughout our life (physical exercise patterns, diet choices, etc) can directly affect our brain health as we age.

It also appears that even “high normal” blood glucose levels (usually considered pre-diabetes) are associated with impaired memory and cognitive performance. See this article for further detail.

Bottom line: consistently bad diet choices (high sugar consumption, high saturated fat – the fast food diet) can result in serious brain health issues later in life.

Try the Healthy Brain Test to learn more about what you can do to keep your brain in good working order.

Read: Linking Exercise to a Healthy Brain