Blood Glucose Jumps Hurt Mental Function

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

Episodes of hyperglycemia may cause patients with type 2 diabetes to experience a decline in mental function and mood. Reporting in Diabetes Care (October 2004), the researchers analyzed the effects of acute hyperglycemia in 20 patients with type 2 diabetes. All of the participants had had diabetes for 6 years and were 61 years old on average. Their treatment for the disease included antidiabetic medication and insulin.

For the study, the researchers used a glucose infusion to produce optimal blood glucose levels or high levels on 2 occasions. It was during this process that the participants were tested on their information- processing ability, memory, and attention level. The participants also completed a mood questionnaire during each experimental condition. The results showed that speed of information processing, working memory, and some areas of attention were impaired during acute hyperglycemia. Furthermore, these occurrences negatively affected mood, with reduced feelings of happiness and increased agitation, anxiety, lethargy, and tiredness.

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