Lower blood sugars may be good for the brain

October 23, 2013

Even for people who don't have diabetes or high blood sugar, those with higher blood sugar levels are more likely to have memory problems, according to a new study published in the October 23, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 141 people with an average age of 63 who did not have diabetes or pre-diabetes, which is also called impaired glucose tolerance. People who were overweight, drank more than three-and-a-half servings of alcohol per day, and those who had and thinking impairment were not included in the study.

The participants' memory skills were tested, along with their blood glucose, or sugar, levels. Participants also had brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory.

People with lower were more likely to have better scores on the memory tests. On a test where participants needed to recall a list of 15 words 30 minutes after hearing them, recalling fewer words was associated with higher blood sugar levels. For example, an increase of about seven mmol/mol of a long-term marker of glucose control called HbA1c went along with recalling two fewer words. People with higher blood sugar levels also had smaller volumes in the hippocampus.

"These results suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their levels could be a promising strategy for preventing and cognitive decline as they age," said study author Agnes Flöel, MD, of Charité University Medicine in Berlin, Germany. "Strategies such as lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity should be tested."

Explore further: Even in normal range, high blood sugar linked to brain shrinkage

Related Stories

Even in normal range, high blood sugar linked to brain shrinkage

September 3, 2012
People whose blood sugar is on the high end of the normal range may be at greater risk of brain shrinkage that occurs with aging and diseases such as dementia, according to new research published in the September 4, 2012, ...

Chocolate may help keep brain healthy

August 7, 2013
Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp, according to a study published in the August 7, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal ...

Diabetes may significantly increase your risk of dementia

September 19, 2011
People with diabetes appear to be at a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the September 20, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Large European study suggests men with type 1 diabetes are better at blood sugar control than women

September 23, 2013
Men with type 1 diabetes appear to be better at blood sugar control than women, but there is no significant difference in blood sugar control between boys and girls. These are the findings of new research presented at this ...

Blood sugar diabetes risk for South Asians

July 24, 2012
A new diabetes study at the University of Leicester has discovered that South Asians (people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lanka origin) have higher levels of blood sugar than white Europeans independent of risk ...

Dementia risk tied to blood sugar level, even with no diabetes

August 7, 2013
A joint Group Health–University of Washington (UW) study in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that higher blood sugar levels are associated with higher dementia risk, even among people who do not have diabetes.

Recommended for you

The neural codes for body movements

July 21, 2017
A small patch of neurons in the brain can encode the movements of many body parts, according to researchers in the laboratory of Caltech's Richard Andersen, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, Tianqiao and Chrissy ...

Faulty support cells disrupt communication in brains of people with schizophrenia

July 20, 2017
New research has identified the culprit behind the wiring problems in the brains of people with schizophrenia. When researchers transplanted human brain cells generated from individuals diagnosed with childhood-onset schizophrenia ...

Scientists discover combined sensory map for heat, humidity in fly brain

July 20, 2017
Northwestern University neuroscientists now can visualize how fruit flies sense and process humidity and temperature together through a "sensory map" within their brains, according to new research.

Scientists reveal how patterns of brain activity direct specific body movements

July 20, 2017
New research by Columbia scientists offers fresh insight into how the brain tells the body to move, from simple behaviors like walking, to trained movements that may take years to master. The discovery in mice advances knowledge ...

Team traces masculinization in mice to estrogen receptor in inhibitory neurons

July 20, 2017
Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have opened a black box in the brain whose contents explain one of the remarkable yet mysterious facts of life.

Speech language therapy delivered through the Internet leads to similar improvements as in-person treatment

July 20, 2017
Telerehabilitation helps healthcare professionals reach more patients in need, but some worry it doesn't offer the same quality of care as in-person treatment. This isn't the case, according to recent research by Baycrest.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.