martes, 24 de abril de 2012

Sticky Molecules Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Type 2 Diabetes - American Diabetes Association

Sticky Molecules Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Type 2 Diabetes - American Diabetes Association

Sticky Molecules Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Type 2 Diabetes

Adhesion Molecules, Altered Vasoreactivity, and Brain Atrophy in Type 2 Diabetes, by Vera Novak and colleagues. Diabetes Care 34:2438-2441, 2011

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

People with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of cognitive dysfunction, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease than those without diabetes. Previous research has found that certain regions in the brains of people with diabetes seem shrunken compared to those without the disease. But it remains unclear how diabetes takes a toll on the brain. Some scientists suspect that inflammation, which is increased in people with diabetes, may be involved.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

To better understand the mechanisms behind brain decline in people with diabetes.

Who was studied?

The researchers included 147 people in the study: 71 with type 2 diabetes and 76 without, for comparison. Their average age was 65.

How was the study done?

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the brains of the subjects. They also used blood tests to detect markers of inflammation. The participants took tests that assessed their mental health, brain function, and walking speed. The researchers then looked at correlations between these various factors in an attempt to determine if inflammation is associated with brain abnormalities and, in turn, cognitive dysfunction.

What did the researchers find?

Participants with diabetes were slower walkers than those without the disease, and more likely to be depressed. Their brains were more likely to have problems with blood flow and brain atrophy. In people with and without diabetes, these brain abnormalities correlated with levels of a particular set of molecules associated with inflammation called “adhesion molecules.” Levels of these molecules in the body also related to walking speed and brain function. The associations were stronger in people with diabetes.

What were the limitations of the study?

This study cannot prove that inflammation caused the observed changes in brain structure and function, only that there is an association. The data was taken only at a single time point, so researchers can’t say whether the inflammation or brain changes occurred first.

What are the implications of the study?

While still at the very early stages of research, this study demonstrates that brain function may be related to inflammation and, in particular, the function of adhesion molecules. These molecules could provide new targets for brain-saving medications or may simply help researchers better understand how diabetes affects the brain.

For More Information

Healthy Stress-Free Living
Build Your Best Body
The Diabetes Food & Nutrition Bible

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