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The effects of early onset type 1 diabetes on the young adult brain: A voxel-based morphometry study

Roberts, G., Anderson, M., Jones, T., Davis, E. and Trang, L (2014) The effects of early onset type 1 diabetes on the young adult brain: A voxel-based morphometry study. In: XII International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON-XII), 27-31 July, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

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Diabetes mellitus type 1 (T1DM) has been associated with cognitive dysfunction and structural abnormalities across the cortex. It has been argued that there are critical periods in the lifespan where the brain is particularly vulnerable to the neural insults of Diabetes (Biessels, Deary & Ryan, 2008). In this MRI study, we used voxel-based morphometry to compare a group of T1DM patients to sibling controls during young adulthood. We had previously shown that when 7 years younger there was no effect of T1DM on IQ (Strudwick et al., 2005) and while there was still no effect on IQ, there was a suggestion of difficulties in executive functioning (EF; Ly et al., 2011). In this follow-up study we explored whether differences in brain structure related to T1DM might explain the difference in EF. There were 61 participants (Mage = 19.3) who participated in the MRI scanning (T1DM N = 31) with an approximately equal gender balance (54% female). Participants' T1-weighted volumes at 1mm3 voxel size were obtained from a 3T Siemens scanner. MRI scans were analysed using the SPM8 toolbox (Wellcome Trust) in MATLAB (The Mathworks, Inc). When performing voxel-wise comparisons across the cortex, there were no significant differences in grey matter density between T1DM and sibling controls (corrected p =. 05). Lowering the statistical criteria to an uncorrected p =. 001 revealed sibling controls had higher grey matter density in four left-lateralised clusters (middle temporal gyrus, cuneus, superior frontal gyrus and postcentral gyrus). The largest effects were for T1DM patients to have reduced grey matter density in the middle temporal gyrus"”a cortical region associated with semantic processing and risk factor for developing Dementia, and in the superior frontal gyrus"”a cortical region implicated in EF. These results reveal consistent, yet subtle, structural brain differences between T1DM patients and controls in young adulthood.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Frontiers
Copyright: The Authors
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