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January 7, 2010

ADHD

Question from Monroe, New York, USA:

Has any new research shown a link between ADHD and type 1 diabetes? Also, if a child is experiencing high blood sugars (i.e., over 240 mg/dl [13.3 mmol/L]) and a side effect of this is hyperactivity, could the ADHD be misdiagnosed or misunderstood?

Answer:

There is no link with ADHD and diabetes. However, when blood glucose levels are low, with or without symptoms AND when blood glucose levels are high, both behavior and cognitive function are affected. Most people are aware of such problems associated with hypoglycemia but most people do not recognize that even asymptomatic hypoglycemia can cause problems with brain and body functioning. Even more commonly, hyperglycemia is also associated with neurologic problems, often subtle ones. Elegant studies have been done by Professor Eugen Schoenle in Zurich as well as Professor William Clarke and many others documenting such abnormalities with acute hyperglycemia as well as chronic hyperglycemia. Hyperactivity, per se, is usually not one of the findings associated with glucose changes but learning problems and cognitive dysfunction certainly are.

SB