Disruption of the Cerebral White Matter Network Is Related to Slowing of Information Processing Speed in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

  1. on behalf of the Utrecht Vascular Cognitive Impairment (VCI) Study Group*
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  2. 2Image Sciences Institute, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  1. Corresponding author: Yael D. Reijmer, y.d.reijmer{at}umcutrecht.nl


Patients with type 2 diabetes often show slowing of information processing. Disruptions in the brain white matter network, possibly secondary to vascular damage, may underlie these cognitive disturbances. The current study reconstructed the white matter network of 55 nondemented individuals with type 2 diabetes (mean age, 71 ± 4 years) and 50 age-, sex-, and education-matched controls using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging–based fiber tractography. Graph theoretical analysis was then applied to quantify the efficiency of these networks. Patients with type 2 diabetes showed alterations in local and global network properties compared with controls (P < 0.05). These structural network abnormalities were related to slowing of information processing speed in patients. This relation was partly independent of cerebrovascular lesion load. This study shows that the approach of characterizing the brain as a network using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging and graph theory can provide new insights into how abnormalities in the white matter affect cognitive function in patients with diabetes.


  • Received November 27, 2012.
  • Accepted January 4, 2013.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 62 no. 6 2112-2115
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