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Type 2 Diabetes – Does It Affect the Brain?

Type 2 DiabetesAccording to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes and as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in the year 2050. Type2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that strikes people of all ages, and early symptoms are subtle. The person’s body is able to produce insulin but does not use it properly. Over time, untreated type2 diabetes can damage many of the body’s systems and raise the risk for heart disease, loss of vision, nerve and organ damage, and other serious conditions. A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that a longer duration of this diabetic condition was associated with brain volume loss, particularly in the gray matter.

They used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look at the brains of 614 people who had all been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for an average of 10 years. The average age of the participants was 62 years. They found that the longer a patient had the condition, the more brain volume loss occurred, particularly in the gray matter. Gray matter includes areas of the brain involved in muscle control, seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making and self-control. The report also mentioned that for every 10 years someone had diabetes, the brain appeared about two years older than the brain of a person without the condition.

Though the study found an association between type 2 diabetes and greater and faster brain volume loss, it was not able to prove that the condition was the cause of the brain shrinkage. Controlling diabetes is crucial as it can also lead to thinking and memory problems like Alzheimer’s disease. High blood sugar levels can also lead to nerve damage, the condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This condition can be effectively treated with chiropractic adjustments, which helps improve the performance of the nervous system, pain relievers, and physical therapy exercises which strengthen the muscles of the leg and foot and restore gait.

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