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Pediatr Diabetes. 2004 Jun;5(2):63-71.

A prospective study of severe hypoglycemia and long-term spatial memory in children with type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


In a previous retrospective study, severe hypoglycemia (SH) was associated with decreased long-term spatial memory in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that prospectively ascertained SH would also be associated with decreased spatial long-term memory over time. Children with T1DM (n = 42) and sibling controls (n = 25) performed a spatial delayed response (SDR) task with short and long delays and other neuropsychological tests at baseline and after 15 months of monitoring. Extreme glycemic events and other medical complications were recorded prospectively during follow-up. Fourteen T1DM children experienced at least one episode of SH during the follow-up period (range = 1-5). After controlling for long-delay SDR performance at baseline, age, gender, and age of onset, the presence of SH during the prospective period was statistically associated with decreased long-delay SDR performance at follow-up (semipartial r = -0.38, p = 0.017). This relationship was not seen with short-delay SDR or with verbal or object memory, attention, or motor speed. These results, together with previously reported data, support the hypothesis that SH has specific, negative effects on spatial memory skills in T1DM children.

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