American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions
American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions
June 15, 2016
1 min read

Type 2 diabetes in children alters brain gray matter volume

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NEW ORLEANS — Significant changes in total brain gray matter volume and in regions of gray matter involved in seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making and self-control are found in children with type 2 diabetes, according to study data presented here.

“Previous studies suggested that youth with type 2 diabetes have changes in brain structure and poorer cognitive function scores compared to their peers,” said Amy Sanghavi Shah, MD, a physician-scientist in the division of endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “Total and regional brain volume had not been assessed comprehensively until now. We also sought to determine if the findings we found here could explain poorer cognitive scores.”

Amy Shah

Amy Sanghavi Shah

Shah, Jacob M. Redel, MD, a fellow in the division of endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and colleagues evaluated 20 children with type 2 diabetes (mean duration, 2.8 years; mean HbA1c, 7.9%) and 20 race-, sex- and age-matched controls to determine differences in total and regional brain gray matter volumes.

No participant had prior abnormal MRI or neuropsychological disease, and high-resolution T1-weighted structural MRI scans and voxel-based morphometry analysis were used for comparison. Clusters with at least 100 contiguous voxels were the only ones reported.

Jacob Redel

Jacob M. Redel

Total gray matter volume was more decreased in participants with type 2 diabetes compared with controls (P = .012). Ten regions within the temporal lobe, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia with significantly less gray matter volume and five regions within the frontal lobe and basal ganglia were found in participants with type 2 diabetes compared with controls.

“Our results do not show cause and effect,” Redel said. “We don’t know if the changes we found are the direct result of diabetes, but studies in adults with type 2 diabetes with longer duration of disease also show brain volume differences, brain vascular changes and cognitive decline. However, our findings suggest that preventing type 2 diabetes in adolescents is important to prevent possible complications in the future.” – by Amber Cox


Redel JM, et al. 376-OR Presented at: American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions; June 10-14, 2016; New Orleans.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.