Diabetes in children may impair brain development


Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body improperly utilizes glucose due to insulin deficiency. According to Dr. Fergus Cameron from the Royal Children’s Hospital, diabetic children and adolescents are found to have a decreased size of their brain gray matter and a swelling of their white matter. The changes to the brain experienced by affected children are due to diabetic ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis occurs because of the accumulation of ketone bodies in diabetics. Persons with diabetes are unable to utilize carbohydrates, primarily glucose, as their energy source. However, because glucose is the chief fuel of the brain, problems arise. Instead of carbohydrates, the body then turn to fats to utilize as its next energy source. When fat is used for energy metabolism, by products like ketone bodies are formed. When prolonged usage of fat occurs, more and more of these substances accumulate.

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