This study investigated the neurobehavioral effects of mild and moderate hypoglycemia in adults with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). On 2 consecutive days, 26 subjects were tested in a counterbalanced, randomized, single-blind, crossover design. On the experimental day, subjects performed tests at 6.4, 3.6, and 2.6 mmol/l and again after glycemic recovery to 6.3 mmol/l. On the control day, subjects performed tests four times at euglycemia. Three months after testing, 15 subjects repeated the experimental day protocol. Results demonstrated that both mild and moderate hypoglycemia significantly disrupted performance. However, performance deterioration varied substantially across individual subjects. Men exhibited significantly more deterioration than women at mild hypoglycemia, and subjects with a history of unconsciousness due to hypoglycemia exhibited more deterioration than subjects with no such history. Individual deterioration scores during repeat testing significantly correlated with performance during original testing. Recovery from hypoglycemia-related impairment varied across individuals and was correlated with degree of impairment during hypoglycemia. These results suggest that the glycemic threshold for onset and recovery from neurobehavioral deterioration with hypoglycemia, as well as degree of impairment experienced, varies across individuals. Furthermore, these individual differences are stable across time.

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