(HealthDay News) – For cognitively healthy individuals without type 2 diabetes, high plasma levels within the normal range are associated with atrophy in the hippocampus and amygdala, according to a study published in the Sept 4 issue of Neurology.

To examine the correlation between plasma glucose levels in the normal range and hippocampal and amygdalar atrophy, Nicolas Cherbuin, PhD, from the Australian National University in Canberra, and colleagues used data from a sample of 266 cognitively healthy individuals without type 2 diabetes, aged 60–64 years, who were participants in a longitudinal study of aging. At wave 1, fasting plasma glucose was assessed and hippocampal and amygdalar volumes were manually traced using magnetic resonance imaging scans. Four years later, in wave 2, volumes were traced again.

The researchers observed a significant association between plasma glucose levels and hippocampal and amygdalar atrophy. After adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, hypertension, alcohol, and smoking, the plasma glucose levels accounted for 6%–10% of the change in volume.

“High plasma glucose levels within the normal range (<6.1mmol/L) were associated with greater atrophy of structures relevant to aging and neurodegenerative processes, the hippocampus and amygdala,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that even in the subclinical range and in the absence of diabetes, monitoring and management of plasma glucose levels could have an impact on cerebral health.”

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