HealthDay News — Moderate hypoglycemia is associated with deterioration in language processing in adults with and without type 1 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

To examine the effects of hypoglycemia on language processing in adult patients with type 1 diabetes and without, Kate V. Allen, from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues followed 20 adults with type 1 diabetes and 20 healthy volunteers.

The effects of hypoglycemia on the correlation between working memory and language (reading span), grammatical decoding (self-paced reading), and grammatical encoding (subject-verb agreement) were examined using language tests.

There was a significant deterioration in reading span and a decrease in correct responses with hypoglycemia. During hypoglycemia, the reading time for the first sentence fragment increased on the self-paced reading test; for the reading of the next fragment, hypoglycemia had more of an effect on healthy volunteers than on adults with type 1 diabetes.

Neither the number of errors in sentence comprehension nor the time taken to answer questions was significantly affected by hypoglycemia. There was a deterioration of subject-verb agreement with hypoglycemia.

“Hypoglycemia caused a significant deterioration in reading span and in the accuracy of subject-verb agreement, both of which are practical aspects of language involved in its everyday use,” concluded the researchers.

“Language processing is therefore impaired during moderate hypoglycemia.”


  1. Allen KV et al. Diabetes Care. 2015; doi: 10.2337/dc14-1657