Slower psychomotor speed is very common in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), but the underlying mechanisms are not clear. We propose that hyperglycemia is associated with slower psychomotor speed via disruption of brain activation. Eighty-five adults (48% women, mean age: 49.0 years, mean duration: 40.8) with childhood onset T1D were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Median response time in seconds (longer = worse performance) and brain activation were measured while performing a psychomotor speed task. Exposure to hyperglycemia, measured as glycosylated hemoglobin A1c, was associated with longer response time and with higher activation in the inferior frontal gyrus and primary sensorimotor and dorsal cingulate cortex. Higher activation in inferior frontal gyrus, primary sensorimotor cortex, thalamus, and cuneus was related to longer response times; in contrast, higher activation in the superior parietal lobe was associated with shorter response times. Associations were independent of small vessel disease in the brain or other organs. In this group of middle-aged adults with T1D, the pathway linking chronic hyperglycemia with slower processing speed appears to include increased brain activation, but not small vessel disease. Activation in the superior parietal lobe may compensate for dysregulation in brain activation in the presence of hyperglycemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism