High Blood Sugar Linked to Brain Shrinkage Even In Normal Ranges

High blood sugar has been associated with brain shrinkage especially as seen with type 2 diabetics. But recent research indicates that even people at the high end of the normal blood sugar range also stand at a greater risk of brain shrinkage which further leads to diseases such as dementia as people age. The said study conducted by researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra had their findings reported and published on the September 4 issue of Neurology, the medical journal for the American Academy of Neurology.

The study included 249 participants with an average age of between 60 to 64 years old and who registered blood sugar range within the normal levels as defined by the World Health Organization. The participants had their brain scan taken at the start of the study and another one at an average period of four years. According to Nicolas Cherbuin, PhD and the study’s author, “Numerous studies have shown a link between type 2 diabetes and brain shrinkage and dementia, but we haven’t known much about whether people with blood sugar on the high end of normal experience these same effects.”

The results of the study showed that those participants with the higher fasting blood sugar levels within the normal range and below 6.1 mmol/l or 110mg/dl were more likely to experience a loss of brain volume in the hippocampus and the amygdale, areas of the brain that are known to be involved in a person’s memory and cognitive skills. A fasting blood sugar level of 10 mmol/l or 180 mg/dl and above is considered to be diabetes while a blood sugar level of 6.1mmol/l or 110mg/dl is considered as impaired or at the prediabetes level.

Even after accounting for other factors such as age, high blood pressure, alcohol use, smoking and others, the researchers account that high blood sugar levels in the normal range is associated with six to ten percent of the brain shrinkage in the study group. “These findings suggest that even for people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels could have an impact on brain health,” Cherbuin stated.

“More research is needed, but these findings may lead us to re-evaluate the concept of normal blood sugar levels and the definition of diabetes,” he lead author further added.

Source: Medical News Today

 

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