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Diabetes Watch Blog: Imaging For Brain Changes In Patients With Diabetes

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Jan 31, 2006

Imaging For Brain Changes In Patients With Diabetes

Imaging For Brain Changes In Patients With Diabetes
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.

JoAnn      



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Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.

Janet      


Type-2 Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of cases diabetes. This disease affects nearly 17 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Even though 17 million Americans have type-2 diabetes only half of these people are aware that they have diabetes. The death rate in patients with diabetes may be up to 11 times higher than in persons without the disease. The occurrence of diabetes in persons 45 to 64 years of age is 7 percent, but the proportion increases significantly in persons 65 years of age or older. Type-2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of all diabetes worldwide.

Diabetes Watch Blog: Imaging For Brain Changes In Patients With Diabetes

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