Diffusion Tensor Imaging Of the Brain in Type 1 Diabetes

Jo Ann V. Antenor-Dorsey,a Joshua S. Shimony,b *Tamara Hersheya-c

Psychiatry,a Radiology,b and Neurologyc Departments, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
*Correspondence to tammy@wustl.edu

Disclosure: No potential conflict of interest.
Received: 07.03.14 Accepted: 30.07.14
Citation: EMJ Diabet. 2014;2:42-47.

Abstract

Individuals with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) are required to carefully manage their insulin dosing, dietary intake, and activity levels in order to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Over time, exposure to hyperglycaemia is known to cause significant damage to the peripheral nervous system, but its impact on the central nervous system has been less well studied. Researchers have begun to explore the cumulative impact of commonly experienced blood glucose fluctuations on brain structure and function in patient populations. To date, these studies have typically used magnetic resonance imaging to measure regional grey and white matter volumes across the brain. However, newer methods, such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can measure the microstructural properties of white matter, which can be more sensitive to neurological effects than standard volumetric measures. Studies are beginning to use DTI to understand the impact of T1DM on white matter structure in the human brain. This work, its implications, future directions, and important caveats, are the focus of this review.

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