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Diabetes Care. 2010 Nov;33(11):2430-5. doi: 10.2337/dc09-2130. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Type 1 diabetic drivers with and without a history of recurrent hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps: physiological and performance differences during euglycemia and the induction of hypoglycemia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia Health SciencesCenter, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. djc4f@virginia.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Collisions are more common among drivers with type 1 diabetes than among their nondiabetic spouses. This increased risk appears to be attributable to a subgroup of drivers with type 1 diabetes. The hypothesis tested is that this vulnerable subgroup is more at risk for hypoglycemia and its disruptive effects on driving.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

Thirty-eight drivers with type 1 diabetes, 16 with (+history) and 22 without (-history) a recent history of recurrent hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps, drove a virtual reality driving simulator and watched a videotape of someone driving a simulator for 30-min periods. Driving and video testing occurred in a double-blind, randomized, crossover manner during euglycemia (5.5 mmol/l) and progressive hypoglycemia (3.9-2.5 mmol/l). Examiners were blind to which subjects were +/-history, whereas subjects were blind to their blood glucose levels and targets.

RESULTS:

During euglycemia, +history participants reported more autonomic and neuroglycopenic symptoms (P≤0.01) and tended to require more dextrose infusion to maintain euglycemia with the same insulin infusion (P<0.09). During progressive hypoglycemia, these subjects demonstrated less epinephrine release (P=0.02) and greater driving impairments (P=0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings support the speculation that there is a subgroup of type 1 diabetic drivers more vulnerable to experiencing hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps. This increased vulnerability may be due to more symptom "noise" (more symptoms during euglycemia), making it harder to detect hypoglycemia while driving; possibly greater carbohydrate utilization, rendering them more vulnerable to experiencing hypoglycemia; less hormonal counterregulation, leading to more profound hypoglycemia; and more neuroglycopenia, rendering them more vulnerable to impaired driving.

PMID:
20699432
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2963507
Free PMC Article

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