The MRI image shows the location of the hippocampus in the brain.
Researchers tested the memory skills of the participants, along with their blood glucose levels. The participants also underwent brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain which plays an important role in memory. This brain scan image shows the location of the hippocampus.

Lower Blood Sugars May Be Good for the Brain

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 memory 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.

The MRI image shows the location of the hippocampus in the brain.
Researchers tested the memory skills of the participants, along with their blood glucose levels. The participants also underwent brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain which plays an important role in memory. This brain scan image shows the location of the hippocampus.

People with lower blood sugar levels 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 7 mmol/mol of a long-term marker of glucose control called HbA1c went along with recalling 2 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 blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems 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.”

Notes about this neurology research

The study was supported by the German Research Foundation, the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation and the German Ministry of Education and Research.

Contact: Rachel Seroka – AAN
Source: AAN press release
Image Source: The image is credited to Amber Rieder and Jenna Traynor. The image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Higher glucose levels associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure” by Lucia Kerti, MA, A. Veronica Witte, PhD, Angela Winkler, MA, Ulrike Grittner, PhD, Dan Rujescu, MD and Agnes Flöel, MD in Neurology. Published online October 23 2013 doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000435561.00234.ee

#neurology, #memory, #hippocampus

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