Connecting The Dots Between Diabetes and Brain Decline

Connecting The Dots Between Diabetes and Brain Decline

A newly released 9-year study connects the dots between diabetes and cognitive decline. This is the first study to actually demonstrate the greater risk of cognitive decline with the severity of diabetes.

Scientists looked at the glycosylated hemoglobin blood marker, a standard for measuring the severity of diabetes. The marker shows evidence of high blood sugar because the sugar molecules become attached to hemoglobin proteins in the blood.

It was discovered that higher levels of glycosylated hemoglobin were present in the more cognitive dysfunctional patients. Patients with more severe diabetes who did not control their blood sugar levels suffered faster cognitive declines.

The study, starting in 1997, enrolled 3,069 adults over 70. All the patients provided periodic blood samples and took regular cognitive tests over time. The findings were produced by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The data came from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) at two community clinics in Pittsburgh and Memphis.

The 9-year study supports the belief that preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes can stave off cognitive decline. Kristine Yaffe, M.D., the lead author of the study, said, “Both the duration and the severity of diabetes are very important factors. It’s another piece of the puzzle in terms of linking diabetes to accelerated cognitive aging.”

During the last few decades, scientists have learned that diabetes affects human tissue and organs, including the brain and central nervous system.

Dr. Yaffe said that the mental decline may be related to a human protein known as an insulin degrading enzyme, which plays an important role in regulating insulin, the key hormone linked to diabetes. He said that this same enzyme also degrades a protein in the brain resulting in beta-amyloid, a brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

There is a need for future studies to determine possible interventions that can effectively prevent, delay, or better control diabetes that would also lower people’s risk of cognitive impairment.

We are not claiming that T/C+ or other smart sugars can reverse, prevent, or delay diabetes, or cognitive impairment. We are, however, in a collaborative program with doctors, researchers, and individuals in various countries in an effort to discover if there may be synergistic benefits. The larger number of participants in the T/C+ self-funding Pilot Survey, the greater cross references of data we will be able to accumulate.