(HealthDay News) – By late adolescence and early adulthood, brain volume and T2 relaxation time, a measure of tissue health, has declined in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with similarly-aged healthy peers, according to research published online Feb. 1 in Diabetes Care.

Gaby S. Pell, PhD, of the Brain Research Institute in Heidelberg, Australia, and colleagues conducted a study using magnetic resonance imaging to examine age-related changes in brain volume and T2 relaxation time in 79 youth with type 1 diabetes (mean age, 20.32 years) compared with 50 healthy control subjects (mean age, 20.53 years).

The researchers found that, in the type 1 diabetes group, there was a negative correlation between age and brain change, with a decrease in gray matter volume and T2 relaxation time in multiple brain regions. The age-related decline in the control group was small. The investigators noted a difference between the groups in the relationship between age and brain volume/T2 relaxation time.

“We demonstrated an interaction between age and group in predicting brain volumes and T2 relaxation time such that there was a decline in these outcomes in type 1 diabetic participants that was much less evident in control subjects,” the authors write. “Findings suggest the neurodevelopmental pathways of youth with type 1 diabetes have diverged from those of their healthy peers by late adolescence and early adulthood but the explanation for this phenomenon remains to be clarified.”

Several of the authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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