Diabetes Slows Brain Function? — Read on!

Dr. Paulk comes across some highly interesting articles often, and rather than re-wording their conclusions, we find it is nicer to simply give you the resource and let you read it for yourself. Do know that these are not, nor are we claiming they are, our original words or thoughts. Rather, this is something we find interesting and think our followers and readers would as well.

The topic of Diabetes is one that Dr. Paulk and The Paulk Clinic address at our clinic as we promote health and wellness. Diabetes is a complicated topic, and one that requires certain treatment options out of necessity.

Diabetes Slows Brain Function
Study: Even Mild Diabetes, Well Controlled, Slows Mental Function

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 5, 2009 — Mild diabetesslows mental function, even when kept under tight control, a Canadian study shows.
It’s not a huge cognitive defect, but it seems to appear early in the course of type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, the defect does not snowball over time, at least for those with mild or moderate diabetes.
The finding comes from a study of 570 adults aged 53 to 90, including 41 patients with “relatively mild” type 2 diabetes, who undergo mental function exams every three years.
Earlier studies have linked diabetes to a decline in mental function. But not all mental functions are affected equally, find Roger A. Dixon, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Diabetes patients had normal reaction times and normal perceptual speed. But they were slower on tasks requiring rapid and precise processing of new verbal information. The defects involved speed and not verbal fluency.
“There could be some ways to compensate for these declines, at least early and with proper management,” Dixon says in a news release.
The good news is that the gap in mental function between people with and without diabetes did not increase with age. Although the defects Dixon and colleagues detected were not “clinically significant,” the researchers’ more recent work suggests these small defects may foreshadow additional decline in mental function for some patients.
The findings appear in the January issue of Neuropsychology as well as online (WebMD).
Original Content from our Marketing Specialist (A.Massey, 2013):This brief article brings to mind a personal story. My 77-year-old grandmother has diabetes and has since I was a young child. I think of diabetes and picture insulin in the fridge and lots and lots of needles and “sticking.” The idea behind medical intervention with diabetes has changed and will continue to change with different ways of controlling blood sugar levels both medically and through health, but I will always first conjure the things I saw in relation to my grandmother, the closest person I know with Diabetes.
When my grandfather passed away in 2011, my grandmother experienced frequent blackouts or “lows,” sometimes requiring brief (non-over night) hospitalization or visits from Emergency Medical Relief. They were scary for both myself (as my grandmother’s caretaker, being the eldest grandchild and not working FT at the time) and my mother (who is an only child and with whom my grandmother had to move in with for several months.) While this was not a completely new occurence, it was something my grandfather had always handled as he had learned her triggers and signs. She WAS hospitalized for a period of around a week when my brother was born (1994) when she was being diagnosed. Back to the present/my story…We had to learn the nuance of diabetes. What I want to share is this — my grandmother is in impeccable physical condition. She easily walks more than 10 miles in any given week, does everything on her 2+ acre property, cares for her pets and though it was a struggle, has regained her independence since my grandfather’s passing. She eats the right things, she checks her blood sugar, she takes her insulin…and yet, she remains insulin dependent. My grandmother has what is called “brittle diabetes” which is a small part of type 1 diabetes. The article above is referring to type 2 diabetes. However…
 When my mother and I were discussing her lows, one thing my mother referenced was “she’s always been a little spacey and unable to remember things” whether that be names, dates, a large amount of foreign information, etc. Reading this study brought to my attention that it may not have been signs of other illnesses (like dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc) but rather the diabetes and her lows only brought it more to our attention. I think this information is interesting, and while not conclusive, it provides a peak into the brain of a diabetic. Being an educator, I think that this might also be valuable information for school systems to realize when dealing with children with diabetes. There are many more things to explore, but I have no doubt we will explore them.
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