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Diabetic Teenagers Have Less Gray Matter Volume in Brain

Diabetes comes with a series of consequences. It is marked by a range of changes that happen in the body of the people suffering from the condition. A new study adds one more to the list: changes in the volume of gray matter in the brain that are linked with speech and memory. The paper was recently presented at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

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The study focuses on teenagers with type 2 diabetes. When the researchers, a team from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, compared the MRIs of a group of 20 teenagers suffering from type 2 diabetes with those of 20 other healthy adolescents, they found that the former had a considerably less amount of gray matter in six areas of the brain, but a greater quantity thereof in three other regions.

Based on these findings, the team drew a link between less gray matter volume and the impaired ability to pronounce unfamiliar words. Furthermore, these regions of gray matter are thought to have a role to play in faculties like seeing and hearing, and in memory, emotions, decision-making, and self-control.

The authors do point out that the changes they have observed are not necessarily the direct result of diabetes. However, other data pertaining to adults with the same condition (type 2 diabetes), demonstrating similar brain volume differences and cognitive decline, appear to be in line with their findings. The new data also supports other previous research that show a possible association between type 2 diabetes in young people and brain structure changes and poorer cognition.

The study also suggests that prevention of the disease among adolescents will possibly help to avoid future complications.

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