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According to a new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, spikes in blood sugar levels can be linked to age-related memory loss. The new study was published this last December in the Annals of Neurology Journal.
Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to map the brain of 240 elderly volunteers, the researchers found a correlation between elevated blood glucose levels and reduced cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus, a pocket in the hippocampus section of the brain. The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory and learning formation. Damage to this area of the brain can cause amnesia and it is one of the first areas damaged once diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The finding suggests that tools to improve blood sugar levels may help both the body and the brain as it ages. Dr. Scott Small, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, said in a news release that because blood sugar levels tend to rise with age, “our finding suggests that monitoring and taking steps to maintaining blood sugar levels, even in the absence of diabetes, could help maintain aspects of cognitive health.”
Bruce S. McEwen, who heads the neuroendocrinology lab at Rockefeller University in New York and was not involved in the research, said the study’s findings were “compelling,” with important implications not just for the elderly but for the growing number of overweight children and teens at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“When we think about diabetes, we think about heart disease and all the consequences for the rest of the body, but we usually don’t think about the brain,” he said. “This is something we’ve got to be really worried about. We need to think about their ultimate risks not only for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, but also about their cognitive skills, and whether they will be able to keep up with the demands of education and a fast-paced complex society. That’s the part that scares the heck out of me.”
Low blood sugar levels have the most impact on the brain since glucose is the primary source of material for its energy production. When the brain senses low blood glucose levels it signals to the body the need to eat more food in order to supply the brain with more energy. This cycle repeats until the body becomes insensitive to insulin. Once the body becomes insensitive to insulin, the pancreas quits producing insulin and the result is diabetes.
How Unicity Balance for Glucose Management helps to manage glucose levels in the body.