Obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes exhibit poorer cognitive performance
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered that obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have cognitive impairments. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has also revealed that these individuals possess subtle neurological abnormalities.
Psychiatry professor Antonio Convit and his colleagues performed the study on 18 obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes, comparing them to a control group of individuals of similar age, socioeconomic background and degree of obesity, but no sign of insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
The research team found that diabetic adolescents performed significantly worse on intellectual functioning, memory and spelling tests than their non-diabetic peers. The MRI revealed that they also had abnormalities in the white matter of their brains.
According to Convit, the results suggest that insulin resistance may lead to cognitive impairment and affect the school performance of these individuals.
We see that subtle changes in white matter of the brain in adolescents may be a result of the abnormal physiology that accompanies type 2 diabetes, he says. If we can improve insulin sensitivity and help children through exercise and weight loss, perhaps we can reverse these deficits.