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Early-Onset T1DM Negatively Impacts Brain Development Over Time

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 -- Negative changes in brain volumes and cognitive scores persist over time in children with early-onset type 1 diabetes, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in Diabetes Care.

Nelly Mauras, M.D., from Nemours Children's Health System in Jacksonville, Florida, and colleagues assessed brain and cognitive differences between 144 children with type 1 diabetes and 72 age-matched controls. Magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive testing were conducted up to four times during a mean of 6.4 years (mean age at baseline, 7.0 years).

The researchers found that total brain, gray matter, and white matter volumes and full-scale and verbal intelligence quotients (IQs) were lower in the diabetes group at 6, 8, 10, and 12 years. For IQ, the estimated group differences were −4.15 at 6 years, −3.81 at 8 years, −3.46 at 10 years, and −3.11 at 12 years. Total brain volume differences were −15,410 mm3 x 103 at 6 years, −21,159 mm3 x 103 at 8 years, −25,548 mm3 x 103 at 10 years, and −28,577 mm3 x 103 at 12 years, respectively. Baseline differences persisted or increased over time. There was a negative association seen between brain volumes and cognitive scores and life-long hemoglobin A1c index and higher sensor glucose in diabetes.

"These longitudinal data support the hypothesis that the brain is a target of diabetes complications in young children," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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