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December 20, 2008


Question from Hubbard, Ohio, USA:

My 11-year-old son has had type 1 since the age of 13 months. He is currently on an insulin pump. Is it true that children with diabetes are more apt to develop ADHD or ADD? Is there any research that proves that type 1 diabetics commonly have ADHD or ADD?


There is no evidence that there is more ADD or ADHD among those having diabetes. There is some speculative evidence of those with youngest diagnosis and with history of severe, hypoglycemia (i.e., unconsciousness and/or convulsion) having some more nonspecific learning issues, but not behavioral issues. The latest research on this comes from Children’s Hospital of Zurich with a study headed by Professor Eugen Schoenle. He and his team document much more significant learning problems of a subtle and nonspecific nature with higher A1c and worse glucose control rather than with hypoglycemia. There is more information available at the NCBI, PubMed web site. Look for work by Christopher Ryan and colleagues in Pittsburgh as well as Eugen Schoenle and colleagues in Zurich as the key authors.