OBJECTIVE: To identify type 1 diabetes-related predictors of change in the neuropsychological profiles of children over the first 2 years of the illness. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Children (n = 116) aged 3-14 years were assessed soon after diagnosis and re-evaluated 2 years later to examine relationships between illness variables, such as age of onset and metabolic control history, and changes in neuropsychological status over the first 2 years of type 1 diabetes. RESULTS: Illness variables were significant predictors of change in neuropsychological test scores within 2 years of onset of type 1 diabetes. Age of onset of type 1 diabetes predicted negative change on Performance Intelligence Quotient, whereas both recurrent severe hypoglycemia and chronic hyperglycemia were associated with reduced memory and learning capacity. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the relationship between metabolic control and neuropsychological risk is nonlinear in that children with either recurrent severe hypoglycemia or chronically elevated blood sugars exhibit negative changes in their neuropsychological profiles. Onset of type 1 diabetes very early in life adds another dimension of risk, particularly affecting the acquisition of visuospatial skills.

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