To evaluate possible pathophysiologic links between cerebral changes in diabetic patients detected by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and clinical as well as laboratory parameters. The brains of 30 patients with diabetes mellitus and 30 healthy volunteers were examined using a STEAM sequence (TR 1500 ms, TE 20 ms). We measured in occipital gray matter and parietal white matter in a 1.5-Tesla magnet. Laboratory parameters were acquired before and after the examination. In diabetic patients a significant elevation of the myo-inositol/creatine ratio in gray and white matter was present (p = 0.006). Choline/creatine ratio in gray matter was elevated compared to normal controls (p = 0.002). No correlation with laboratory parameters was detected. Myo-inositol was even more elevated in patients with polyneuropathy (p = 0.024). No correlation with age or sex was detected. The changes found in diabetes are similar to those found in patients with Alzheimer's disease, dialysis, and after renal transplant, suggesting a similar etiology. Elevated myo-inositol may not only indicate osmolar changes in glial cells but also glial cell alteration due to amyloid or amylin deposition with formation of neurofibrillary tangles, especially as these changes are found in all of these diseases and no correlation to osmolar deterioration exists.