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‘People with type 2 diabetes suffer memory loss, declining decision-making skills’

Brain. Image source veteranstoday

Brain. Image source veteranstoday

PEOPLE with type 2 diabetes lose brain power as their ability to regulate blood flow drops, research suggests.

A study by experts at Harvard Medical School suggests that the impact can be seen in memory and cognition tests – with the decrease in thinking skills dropping over just two years.

A new study by scientists at Harvard has found people with type 2 diabetes lose brain power as their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels drop, resulting in memory loss and a decline in cognitive function

A new study by scientists at Harvard has found people with type 2 diabetes lose brain power as their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels drop, resulting in memory loss and a decline in cognitive function

The United States (US) researchers tracked 40 people over two years, and found a significant decrease in cognitive power, which impacted their ability to cook and bathe themselves.

Study leader Dr. Vera Novak, whose work was published in the journal Neurology, said: “Normal blood flow regulation allows the brain to redistribute blood to areas of the brain that have increased activity while performing certain tasks. People with type two 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.”

The study involved 40 people with an average age of 66. Of those, 19 had type two diabetes and 21 did not have diabetes.

At the beginning of the study the participants were tested for cognition and memory, given MRI scans to look at brain volume and blood flow, and blood tests to measure control of blood sugar and inflammation.

After two years, they were tested again – and those with diabetes showed marked decreases in their ability to regulate blood flow in the brain.

They also had lower scores on several tests of memory and thinking skills – and found it harder to carry out daily tasks such as bathing and cooking.

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, while the scores of those without diabetes stayed the same, at 55 points.

Novak said: “Early detection and monitoring of blood flow regulation may be an important predictor of accelerated changes in cognitive and decision-making skills.”

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