Type 2 diabetes can negatively impact a person's cognitive and decision-making skills also affecting their ability to perform daily activities such as cooking and bathing, a new study has found. Researchers found that in just two years, people with type 2 diabetes experienced negative changes in their ability to regulate blood flow in the brain, which was associated with lower scores on cognition tests and their ability to perform daily activities.
"Normal blood flow regulation allows our brain to redistribute blood to areas of the brain that have increased activity while performing certain tasks," said Vera Novak of Harvard Medical School. "People with type 2 diabetes have impaired blood flow regulation. Our results suggest that diabetes and high blood sugar impose a chronic negative effect on cognitive and decision-making skills," Novak said.(Eating Yogurt May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes)
The study involved 40 people with an average age of 66 years. Of those, 19 had type 2 diabetes and 21 did not. Those with diabetes had been treated for the disease for an average of 13 years. The participants were tested at the beginning of the study and again two years later. Tests included cognition and memory tests, MRI scans of the brain - to look at brain volume and blood flow - as well as blood tests to measure control of blood sugar and inflammation.It was found that after two years, people with diabetes experienced reduced ability of regulating blood flow in the brain. They also had lower scores on several memory tests and thinking skills. People with lower ability to regulate blood flow at the beginning of the study had greater declines in a measure of how well they could complete daily activities such as bathing and cooking.
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Higher levels of inflammation were also associated with greater drops in blood flow regulation, even if people had good control of their diabetes and blood pressure, Novak said. On a test of learning and memory, the scores of the people with diabetes decreased by 12 per cent, from 46 points to 41 points over the span of two years, on the other hand, for those without diabetes, the scores stayed the same at 55 points. Blood flow regulation in the brain was decreased by 65 per cent in people with diabetes.
"Early detection and monitoring of blood flow regulation may be an important predictor of accelerated changes in cognitive and decision-making skills," Novak said. She said that additional extended studies involving more people are needed for the better understanding of the relationship between blood flow regulation and associated changes in memory skills. The study was published in the journal Neurology.(Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk)