Acute hyperglycaemia impairs cognitive function in children with IDDM

Elizabeth A. Davis, Sui Aun Soong, Geoffrey C. Byrne, Timothy W. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The effects of acute hyperglycaemia on cognitive function in children remain controversial. This study was designed to investigate the suggestion that acute hyperglycaemia impairs cognition in IDDM children. Design: To examine this question we studied 12 randomly selected children with IDDM (6 boys, 6 girls, mean age 12.4 years), Cognitive performance was assessed on two occasions at least six months apart (7.4 ± 1.4 mths, range: 6.3-11.1 mths) under randomised conditions of hyperglycaemia (20-30 mmol/l) on one occasion and euglycaemia (5-10 mmol/l) on the other. Target glucose levels were achieved using a modified clamp technique with subjects and psychologist blinded to the glycaemic level. Cognitive tests chosen to assess performance skills were subtests from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - 3(rd) Edition (WISC-111). Results: No significant learning effect was present. However, there was a reduction in performance IQ at hyperglycaemia compared with euglycaemia (106 ± 4.3 vs 112 ± 4.5 IQ points respectively, p<0.05). Under hyperglycaemic conditions the mean decrease in percentile score for performance IQ was 9.5%. Of the 12 children tested, 8 had a decrease in IQ when hyperglycaemic, which was independent of duration of diabetes and long term metabolic control assessed by HbA(1c). Conclusion: Acute hyperglycaemia results in impairment of complex cognitive function in children with IDDM. This may have important implications for school performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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