Glycemic status and brain injury in older individuals: the age gene/environment susceptibility-Reykjavik study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

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Document Type



Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Brain Injuries; Cerebral Infarction; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Disease Susceptibility; Female; Humans; Male; Sex Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


OBJECTIVE: To examine the association of glycemic status to magnetic resonance imaging indicators of brain pathological changes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, population-based study of 4,415 men and women without dementia (mean age 76 years) participating in the Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study. Glycemic status groups included the following: type 2 diabetes (self-report of diabetes, use of diabetes medications, or fasting blood glucose > or =7.0 mmol/l [11.1%]); impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (fasting blood glucose 5.6-6.9 mmol/l [36.2%]); and normoglycemic (52.7%). Outcomes were total brain volume, white and gray matter volume, white matter lesion (WML) volume, and presence of cerebral infarcts.

RESULTS: After adjustment for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, participants with type 2 diabetes had significantly lower total brain volume (72.2 vs. 71.5%; P < 0.001) and lower gray and white matter volumes (45.1 vs. 44.9%, P < 0.01 and 25.7 vs. 25.3%, P < 0.001, respectively) and were more likely to have single (odds ratio 1.45 [95% CI 1.14-1.85]) or multiple (2.27 [1.60-3.23]) cerebral infarcts compared with normoglycemic participants. Longer duration of type 2 diabetes was associated with lower total brain volume and gray and white matter volume, higher WML volume (all P(trend) < 0.05), and a greater likelihood of single and multiple cerebral infarcts (all P(trend) < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Type 2 diabetic participants have more pronounced brain atrophy and are more likely to have cerebral infarcts. Duration of type 2 diabetes is associated with brain changes, suggesting that type 2 diabetes has a cumulative effect on the brain.

DOI of Published Version



Diabetes Care. 2009 Sep;32(9):1608-13. Epub 2009 Jun 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Diabetes care

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