Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Memory Dysfunction in Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Simona Ghetti, Joshua K. Lee, Clare E. Sims, Dana M. DeMaster, Nicole Glaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Objective: We tested the hypothesis that diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results in memory deficits typical of hypoxic/ischemic injury because recent studies suggest that cerebral metabolic changes similar to those observed in hypoxic/ischemic cerebral injury are observed in children with DKA, even without symptoms suggesting cerebral injury. Study design: Thirty-three children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and a history of DKA and 29 children with T1DM without a history of DKA were enrolled from an academic hospital pediatric endocrinology clinic. These groups were comparable on demographic and disease-related variables. These groups' ability to recall events in association with specific details, the memory function most directly affected by mild hypoxia/ischemia, was compared on 2 tasks (ie, event-color associations and event-spatial position associations). Results: In multivariate analyses controlling for other critical variables, children with DKA history had significantly lower rates of accurate memory on both tasks (mean, 0.34 ± 0.13 on the color task and 0.57 ± 0.15 on the spatial task) than did children without DKA history (mean, 0.44 ± 0.11 and 0.65 ± 0.18, P < .01). Conclusions: DKA disrupts memory function, underscoring the importance of DKA prevention when T1DM is known and prompt diagnosis of children with new onset of T1DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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