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Pediatr Diabetes. 2010 Sep;11(6):424-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5448.2009.00618.x. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

Neurocognitive functioning in preschool-age children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics/Division of Clinical Psychology, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Neurocognitive functioning may be compromised in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). The factor most consistently implicated in the long-term neurocognitive functioning of children with T1DM is age of onset. The pediatric literature suggests that glycemic extremes may have an effect on the neurocognitive functioning of children, but findings are mixed. The purpose of this study was to compare the neurocognitive functioning of young children with T1DM diagnosed before 6 yr of age and healthy children (i.e., without chronic illness). Additionally, in the children with T1DM, we examined the relationship between their neurocognitive functioning and glycemic control. Sixty-eight (36 with T1DM and 32 without chronic illness) preschool-age children (M age = 4.4 yr ) were recruited and administered a battery of instruments to measure cognitive, language, and fine motor skills. Children with T1DM performed similar to the healthy controls and both groups' skills fell in the average range. Among children with diabetes, poor glycemic control [higher hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)] was related to lower general cognitive abilities (r = -0.44,p < 0.04), slower fine motor speed (r = -0.64,p < 0.02), and lower receptive language scores (r = -0.39,p < 0.04). Such findings indicate that young children with T1DM already demonstrate some negative neurocognitive effects in association with chronic hyperglycemia.

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