High blood sugar may slow brain growth in young children with type 1 diabetes, a new study indicates.
The research included children aged 4 to 9 years who underwent brain scans and tests to assess their mental abilities, as well as continuous monitoring of their blood sugar levels.
Compared to children without diabetes, the brains of those with the disease had slower overall and regional growth of gray and white matter. These differences were associated with higher and more variable blood sugar levels, according to the study. But, the researchers didn’t find any significant differences in the children’s thinking and memory skills (“cognition”).
“Our results show the potential vulnerability of young developing brains to abnormally elevated glucose [blood sugar] levels, even when the diabetes duration has been relatively brief,” lead author Dr. Nelly Mauras, chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., said in a clinic news release.
“Despite the best efforts of parents and diabetes care teams, about 50 percent of all blood glucose concentrations during the study were measured in the high range. Remarkably, the cognitive tests remained normal, but whether these observed changes will ultimately impact brain function will need further study,” Mauras said.
“As better technology develops, we hope to determine if the differences observed with brain imaging can improve with better glucose control,” she added.
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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay