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Consistent Effects of Hypoglycemia on Cognitive Function in People With or Without Diabetes

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


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OBJECTIVE: Hypoglycemia poses an immediate threat for cognitive function. Due to its association with acute cognitive impairment, the International Hypoglycemia Study Group (IHSG) defines a blood glucose level <3.0 mmol/L as "level 2 hypoglycemia." In the current study we investigated whether having diabetes, type of diabetes, or hypoglycemia awareness moderates this association.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Adults with type 1 diabetes with normal (n = 26) or impaired (n = 21) hypoglycemic awareness or with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (n = 15) and age-matched control subjects without diabetes (n = 32) underwent a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic-hypoglycemic glucose clamp (2.80 ± 0.13 mmol/L [50.2 ± 2.3 mg/dL]). At baseline and during hypoglycemia, calculation ability, attention, working memory and cognitive flexibility were measured with the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) and the Test of Attentional Performance (TAP).

RESULTS: For the whole group, hypoglycemia decreased the mean ± SD proportion of correct answers on the PASAT by 8.4 ± 12.8%, increased reaction time on the TAP Alertness task by 32.1 ± 66.6 ms, and increased the sum of errors and omissions on the TAP Working Memory task by 2.0 ± 5.5 (all P < 0.001). Hypoglycemia-induced cognitive declines were largely irrespective of the presence or type of diabetes, level of symptomatic awareness, diabetes duration, or HbA1c.

CONCLUSIONS: IHSG level 2 hypoglycemia impairs cognitive function in people with and without diabetes, irrespective of type of diabetes or hypoglycemia awareness status. These findings support the cutoff value of hypoglycemia <3.0 mmol/L (<54 mg/dL) as being clinically relevant for most people with diabetes.

TidsskriftDiabetes Care
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)2103-2110
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2022

Bibliografisk note

© 2022 by the American Diabetes Association.

ID: 80066878