Older diabetic patients are at higher risk of cognitive impairment

Elderly patients with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cognitive dysfunction in the future, so caution is required for management, a study has found.

Professor Oh Dae-jong, Department of Psychiatry

The research team led by Professor Oh Dae-jong and Lee Jun-young of the Department of Psychiatry at Seoul Boramae Hospital and Professor Kim Yu-kyung of the Department of Nuclear Medicine selected 74 non-symptomatic elderly people who visited the in-hospital memory disorder clinic as subjects. The results of MRI scans were comprehensively analyzed and the effects of diabetes on the development of cognitive dysfunction and its mechanisms were studied.

The results of this study were published in an international scientific journal. It was published as a thesis in the October issue.

The researchers divided the subjects into three groups: type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and a normal control group. We compared and analyzed 3D-MRI brain images of each group through voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging, which can examine the structure of cerebral white matter.

Professor Junyoung Lee, Department of Psychiatry
Professor Junyoung Lee, Department of Psychiatry

As a result, the volume of both cerebellar gray matter and frontal white matter was decreased in the elderly diabetic patients compared to the normal elderly, and extensive damage was observed in the brain white matter microstructure. In the case of the pre-diabetic group, it was confirmed that the volume of gray matter in the left anterior insulitis and the frontal lobe decreased compared to the normal control group.

In the elderly with dysglycemia, such as type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, the higher the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and insulin resistance, the greater the atrophy of the cerebellum and frontal gray matter and the microstructural damage of the frontal white matter.

Professor Kim Yu-kyung, Department of Nuclear Medicine
Professor Kim Yu-kyung, Department of Nuclear Medicine

As a result of the cognitive function test, it was confirmed that various cognitive functions such as memory, language ability, reaction speed, and executive function deteriorated in the elderly with dysglycemia due to damage to the frontal lobe and cerebellum. was judged to be

Professor Oh Dae-jong said, “Through this study, we confirmed that high blood sugar can damage the connection between the frontal lobe and the cerebellum, thereby increasing the risk of cognitive dysfunction.”

Professor Oh said, “If the elderly do not normally control their blood sugar, structural damage to the brain appears and the risk of dementia gradually increases. It is necessary to periodically check the function,” he added.


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