Data collected through EEG and with eye electrodes allowed researchers to measure brain activity and startle response. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Brain activity, reactivity help explain diabetics’ negative feelings and risk for depression

AMES, Iowa – For millions of Americans who are obese and living with diabetes or prediabetes, feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety are often part of daily life.

A new Iowa State University study suggests those negative feelings may stem from problems regulating blood sugar levels that influence emotional response in the brain. The study found people with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes were more likely to focus on and have a strong emotional response to threats and negative things, which affects quality of life and increases risk for depression. The research is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Auriel Willette, an ISU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition; Tovah Wolf, lead author and a graduate student working with Willette on this project; and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed data on startle response, brain activity, cortisol levels and cognitive assessment. Data for the study came from Midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS), a national study of health and well-being.

Read about the study results in the story published by ISU News Service