Task-induced brain activity patterns in type 2 diabetes: a potential biomarker for cognitive decline

Marder TJ, Flores VL, Bolo NR, Hoogenboom WS, Simonson DC, Jacobson AM, Foote SE, Shenton ME, Sperling RA, Musen G

Diabetes 2014 Sep;63(9):3112-9

PMID: 24705405


Patients with type 2 diabetes demonstrate reduced functional connectivity within the resting state default mode network (DMN), which may signal heightened risk for cognitive decline. In other populations at risk for cognitive decline, additional magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities are evident during task performance, including impaired deactivation of the DMN and reduced activation of task-relevant regions. We investigated whether middle-aged type 2 diabetic patients show these brain activity patterns during encoding and recognition tasks. Compared with control participants, we observed both reduced 1) activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during encoding and 2) deactivation of the DMN during recognition in type 2 diabetic patients, despite normal cognition. During recognition, activation in several task-relevant regions, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and DMN regions, was positively correlated with HbA1c and insulin resistance, suggesting that these important markers of glucose metabolism impact the brain’s response to a cognitive challenge. Plasma glucose ≥11 mmol/L was associated with impaired deactivation of the DMN, suggesting that acute hyperglycemia contributes to brain abnormalities. Since elderly type 2 diabetic patients often demonstrate cognitive impairments, it is possible that these task-induced brain activity patterns observed in middle age may signal impending cognitive decline.