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Prediabetes May Harm Your Brain

By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporters

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — “Prediabetes” — the place blood sugar ranges are excessive however not but tipped over into full-blown diabetes — could pose a risk to mind well being, new British analysis suggests.

“As an observational study, it cannot prove higher blood sugar levels cause worsening brain health. However, we believe there is a potential connection that needs to be investigated further,” mentioned research lead creator Victoria Garfield. She’s on the Institute of Cardiovascular Science and MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Aging, at University College London.

In their analysis, Garfield’s group analyzed UK Biobank information on a half-million individuals, common age 58. Compared to these with regular blood sugar (“glucose”) ranges, individuals with prediabetes had a 42% greater threat of psychological decline over a median of 4 years, and had been 54% extra more likely to develop vascular dementia — a typical kind of dementia brought on by lowered blood circulation to the mind — over a median of eight years.

The associations between prediabetes and psychological (“cognitive”) decline/vascular dementia remained even after the researchers accounted for different potential threat elements, together with age, smoking, weight, stage of coronary heart illness and poverty.

Prediabetes was not related to an elevated threat of Alzheimer’s illness, Garfield’s group famous.

One U.S. diabetes knowledgeable mentioned the findings aren’t shocking, given the truth that medical doctors have lengthy recognized that full-blown diabetes raises dementia dangers.

“The takeaway is that cognitive risk related to elevated glucose levels occurs across a spectrum,” mentioned Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. So even within the prediabetic stage, “where the body overproduces insulin in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels,” harm to the mind could also be underway, she mentioned.

Sood believes people who find themselves in a prediabetic state needs to be warned by their physicians of the hazards.

The British group additionally checked out individuals with full-blown kind 2 diabetes, and located they had been thrice extra more likely to develop vascular dementia, and likewise extra more likely to develop Alzheimer’s illness, than these with regular blood sugar ranges.


The research was revealed on-line lately within the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

“Previous research has found a link between poorer cognitive outcomes and diabetes, but our study is the first to investigate how having blood sugar levels that are relatively high — but do not yet constitute diabetes — may affect our brain health,” Garfield famous in a college news launch.

Dr. Barbara Keber is chair of household medication at Glen Cove Hospital in Glen Cove, N.Y. Reading over the brand new findings, she mentioned it “makes sense” that prediabetes would possibly hurt blood circulation within the mind, because it has the identical impact elsewhere within the physique.

But Keber additionally famous that too-tight blood sugar management has been linked to hypoglycemia (harmful dips in blood sugar ranges) in sufferers, which has additionally been linked to “increased risks for development of cognitive decline and dementia.”

So, “the take-home here is that we need to prevent prediabetes and diabetes as well as control the glucose levels for those who have been diagnosed without causing hypoglycemia, to prevent the development of cognitive decline and vascular dementia,” Keber mentioned.

In the meantime, there’s additionally quite a bit the typical individual with prediabetes can do to rid themselves of this risk to their well being.

“For the lay population, they need to follow a diet which reduces the risks of developing diabetes, exercise regularly — both isometric (strength training) and aerobic (cardiac training) — to reduce weight gain and prevent the development of both prediabetes and diabetes,” Keber mentioned.

More data

The American Academy of Family Physicians has extra on prediabetes.

SOURCES: Barbara Keber, MD, chair, household medication, Glen Cove Hospital, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Minisha Sood, MD, endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; University College London, news launch, Feb. 11, 2021

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