Type 1 Diabetes Among Adults Can Affect Children’s Cognitive Development

New research suggests that a child’s cognitive development could be affected if either one parent has type 1 diabetes. The study is the first to show that having a parent with a chronic disease such as type 1 diabetes may be associated with lower school performance. It was previously thought that maternal high blood sugar was the only risk factor during fetal development. 

Maternal diabetes has been widely researched for its relation to cognition in children. Glucose crosses the placenta, and maternal hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can affect fetal development, including the baby’s brain. Until this new study, there has been limited information on different diabetes subtypes or the effect of having a father with type 1 diabetes.


For the study, researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, analyzed data from test scores in math from students in grades three and six, and reading for grades two, four, six, and eight. The participants included 622,073 children between 6 and 18 years old attending public schools over seven years. There were 2,144 children with mothers with type one diabetes, 3,474 children with fathers with type one diabetes, and 616,455 children from the background population.

Researchers acknowledged that having a parent suffering from a serious chronic disease like diabetes could cause stress, which would be detrimental to a child’s school performance. However, researchers suggest a different explanation for the previously observed effects of maternal type one diabetes on children’s cognitive development during pregnancy.

Anne Lærke Spangmose, study “Lower test scores in the offspring of mothers with type 1 diabetes appear to reflect a negative association of having a parent with type one diabetes rather than a specific adverse effect of maternal type one diabetes during pregnancy on the fetus. Our recent large Danish cohort study including 622,073 children has shown this.”

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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.