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Type 2 Diabetes May Reduce Cognitive Function, Study Suggests

Veins, Blood Flow

While type 2 diabetes has already been established as an independent risk for both dementia as well as cognitive impairment, the findings of a recently published study suggests changes in blood vessel activity in the brains of diabetics might lead to a reduction in both cognitive functions and ability to perform daily tasks.

In the study, which was published in the journal Neurology, the researchers examined a total of 40 people with an average age of 66, 19 of whom had type 2 diabetes while the remaining 21 did not have diabetes. Those participating in the study with type 2 diabetes had been treated for the disease for over five years.

The research indicated that participants with type 2 diabetes exhibited a reduction in their capacity to regulate blood flow within their brains. As for cognitive and memory function tests, the type 2 diabetics performed below their non-diabetic counterparts.

Those with the worst blood flow regulation at the onset of the study saw the greatest declines in their ability to perform basic tasks such as bathing and cooking, Medical News Today reported.

Dr. Vera Novak, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, was quoted by TIME as having said that one needs “to increase blood flow” to specific areas of the brain when performing tasks, but when it comes to diabetes, the “vasodilation ability is reduced, so you have fewer resources to perform any task.”

When doing any task, from cognition to moving your fingers, you need to increase blood flow to that specific area of the brain (…) With diabetes, however, that vasodilation ability is reduced, so you have fewer resources to perform any task.

In other news, an unrelated study’s findings suggest bariatric surgery to be more effective than lifestyle changes when it comes to addressing type 2 diabetes.

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