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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

High Blood Sugar Could Impair Thinking

High blood sugar reading could impair brain functioning which makes sense because low blood glucose could also affect one's thinking ability. The brain needs glucose to keep functioning and since it does not store nor manufacture its own glucose it has to rely on the body to process that.

People with type 2 diabetes may have higher average blood glucose (sugar) levels and this may be linked to lower brain functioning. This is according to a study where researchers found that those with higher levels of hemoglobin A1C had worse results while doing cognitive tasks.

Hemoglobin A1C is the measure of average blood sugar levels over two to three months. The cognitive tasks that were found to have lower results among those with high blood glucose levels are those that tested memory, speed and the ability to manage multiple tasks at the same time. Higher A1C levels were also linked with lower scores on a test of global cognitive function.

These findings were published online and I was interested in following it up. The study is appropriately called MIND (from the Memory in Diabetes) It really is a part of the trial called ACCORD (from to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes.

Of course people are concerned even if the impairment is mild. This is what Dr. Tali Cukierman-Yaffe, the lead researcher, who is from Tel-Aviv University in Israel said in a news release with the American Diabetes Association.

What is not clear though is that the researchers were not sure whether higher blood glucose levels increase the risk for cognitive impairment or whether cognitive impairment lowers the ability of the body to control the blood glucose levels. They were hoping this will be clarified in the ongoing ACCORD-MIND study.

The study will test the hypothesis that decreasing the A1C levels could improve cognitive functioning. Meantime we know that in the previous research the diabetics are found to be 1.5 times more at risk to suffer cognitive decline and dementia than those without diabetes.

Since we know there are so many people whose cognitive functioning is high like the new member of the Supreme Court and she has had diabetes for decades. Let us therefore prove the hypothesis wrong by making sure we do not have the levels that are considered to be high blood sugar.