Blood Sugar Control Helps Attentiveness

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When blood sugar levels are stabilized, the attention span of children with diabetes in the classroom appears better, according to researchers from Arizona State University. For the study, the researchers monitored 4 boys with type 1 diabetes for 10 days while in class to evaluate their attentiveness. Then, the participants were fitted with an insulin pump, which kept their blood sugar levels on an even keel, and they were observed for another 10 days.

The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Pediatrics (February 2006), indicated that the participants demonstrated progress in behavior in 2 categories: performing learning tasks and "off task." Improvements in both categories of behavior averaged 20% and 34%, respectively. The differences in classroom attention "may have meaningful implications on the participants' lives, as well as those of their peers and teachers," the researchers concluded.