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Psychosom Med. 2017 Jul/Aug;79(6):684-696. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000460.

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Executive Function Performance in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

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From the School of Psychology and Counselling, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



The aims of the study were to examine the current evidence for executive function (EF) performance differences between groups with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and nondiabetic control groups during adolescence and early adulthood and to explore the relationships between EF and diabetes-related risk factors.


A systematic review of the literature examining EF performance in groups with T1DM was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Electronic database searches for published and unpublished literature yielded a final set of 26 articles after application of inclusion and exclusion criteria. A meta-analysis was conducted on a subset of these articles (n = 17) comparing EF performance in T1DM and control groups, across a total sample size of 1619.


Sixteen of 26 studies found significantly lower EF on at least one task in groups with T1DM. Meta-analyses of the performance difference between T1DM groups and control groups without diabetes showed that inhibition (g = -0.28, p < .001), working memory (g = -0.34, p < .001), set-shifting (g = -0.31, p = .012), and overall EF performance across these domains (g = -0.42, p < .001) were all significantly lower in groups with T1DM. Performance on specific EF domains also seemed to be differentially associated with early age of diabetes onset, chronic hyperglycemia and its complications, and severe hypoglycemia.


T1DM and its associated risk factors are related to subtle impairments across the inhibition, working memory, and set-shifting domains of EF. Lower EF may be a key factor contributing to behavioral and clinical problems experienced by individuals with T1DM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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