Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study using new imaging technology detects subtle brain changes in patients with Type 1 diabetes

01.02.2006


Although people with diabetes are twice as likely as the general population to develop depression, the cause of this increased risk is not well understood. Now, a Joslin Diabetes Center-led collaboration has documented for the first time subtle changes in the gray matter of the brain of type 1 diabetes patients compared to control subjects who did not have diabetes. They made these observations using voxel-based morphometry (VBM), a relatively new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that allows researchers to take very sensitive measurements of small regions in the brain. For the first time, doctors have reason to ask if the increased risk of depression could in fact be due to changes in brain.



"We have known for a long time that diabetes can damage the nerves that control the extremities and those that control internal organs like the heart and the intestine," says the study’s principal investigator, Alan M. Jacobson, M.D., head of Behavioral and Mental Health Research at Joslin Diabetes Center. "This research helps document diabetes-related changes to the central nervous system. People tended to assume that the stress of dealing with a severe chronic illness and its complications was the sole source of depression. That still is an important issue, but now we have evidence that something else might be at work."

Equally important, by showing the effectiveness of VBM for observing and evaluating changes in brain structure that appear to be related to diabetes, the study opens up whole new approaches to understanding the central nervous system in diabetes. This technology creates three-dimensional images of magnetic resonance imaging data, which researchers can then use to observe and evaluate structural changes, in this case, in the brain.


"We’ve used this technology to look at patients with bipolar disorder or with classic neurodegenerative disorders, but this is the first study to use VBM to investigate brain changes in patients with diabetes," says co-investigator Perry Renshaw, M.D., Ph.D., who directs the Brain Imaging Center at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

For the study, the researchers measured gray matter densities in areas of the brain responsible for memory, language processing and attention. When they compared the images of 82 patients who had type 1 diabetes for 15 to 25 years with minimal complications to those of 36 age-matched control subjects who did not have diabetes, they discovered lower levels of gray matter density in the group with diabetes. Among that group, they also found that these lower levels in density were associated with poorer glycemic control and higher frequency of hypoglycemic events that led to unconsciousness.

"This study definitely does not mean that everyone who gets type 1 diabetes will suffer from clinically significant brain damage," Dr. Jacobson emphasizes. Indeed, he explains that in fact they observed little difference in cognitive function when patients with diabetes were compared to the participants in the control group. What is important, however, is the new tool researchers now have to examine what changes do occur, what drives them, and how they may affect brain functions, including those that lead to depression.

Understanding changes in brain structure becomes particularly critical as more and more people with type 1 diabetes are living longer lives, explains co-investigator Gail Musen, Ph.D., also of Joslin. "We want to be able to understand how the metabolic changes of diabetes affect the risks these patients face so we can find ways to minimize them as they go on to live 50 or more years with this disease."

Dr. Jacobson and his colleagues will continue now to follow the patients in the study to observe if and how the changes progress over time and whether high or low blood glucose influences that progression. Because they can also use MRI to measure the brain’s response to stimuli like cognitive or emotional tests, they will also start looking at functional changes.

"Now that we’ve identified unexpected structural changes in the brains of people with diabetes, we need to understand more about how these relate to changes in brain function," says Dr. Renshaw. "The more we understand the problem, the better solutions we can find."

Marjorie Dwyer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.joslin.harvard.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>