Researchers found that Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a harmful complication of Type 1 Diabetes that can gradually alter brain matter in newly diagnosed children, causing brain loss, affecting memory and attention cognition, Medical Daily reported.
"Children and adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes with diabetic ketoacidosis have evidence of brain gray matter shrinkage and white matter swelling," Dr. Fergus Cameron, the study's lead author and the head of diabetes services at Royal Children's Hospital in Australia, said, according to Medical Daily.
For the study, researchers collected medical data and MRIs from 36 children and teens with DKA and 59 without it over the course of six months.
Children with DKA experienced a decrease in gray matter volume along with swelling of white matter. Researchers also found evidence of memory loss and reduced sustained and divided attention in children with DKA, Medical Daily reported.
Researchers said symptoms usually developed over time, raising a big concern for parents who might not notice any differences in their child right away.
"Any decrement in attention or memory in children is a concern as children are acquiring new knowledge and learning new skills all the time," Cameron said. "DKA still kills people, so we need to do better. We need better tools. And we need to educate doctors more on the symptoms of type 1 diabetes."
Type 1 Diabetes is diagnosed in approximately 30, 000 adults and children annually in the United States, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control their blood sugar, eat healthy foods, exercise, and monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol. The disease can become deadly without proper care.
The findings were recently published in the journal Diabetes Care.