Parental Diabetes Affects Children’s School Performance, Study Finds

Children's Cognitive Development News

Mental Health News

Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, explored how parental type 1 diabetes impacts children’s cognitive development. The study is published in PLOS Medicine.

The Study

The researchers studied Danish registers and conducted a series of experiments. They observed 622,073 children 6-18 years who have been attending public schools for a period of seven years. Of the participants, 5618 had a parent with type 1 diabetes. 616,455 children belonged to the background population. The participants were asked to take part in twin assessments of math and reading, respectively.

The Findings

The results revealed lower test scores for children with parental type 1 diabetes than the children from the background population. There was no discrepancy in the test scores of children with maternal diabetes and those with paternal diabetes.

The study effectively debunked the claims that children’s cognitive development is solely impacted by maternal high blood sugar during fetal development. Instead, the researchers claimed that cognitive development in children is affected regardless of whether the mother or the father has diabetes. They explained that a parent suffering from a chronic illness, such as diabetes, causes stress in the offspring and harms the child’s school performance.

One of the lead researchers, Anne Lærke Spangmose, elaborated: “Lower test scores in the offspring of mothers with type 1 diabetes appear to reflect a negative association of having a parent with type 1 diabetes rather than a specific adverse effect of maternal type 1 diabetes during pregnancy on the fetus.”

To Know More You May Refer To

Spangmose, A. L., Skipper, N., Knorr, S., Wullum Gundersen, T., Beck Jensen, R., Damm, P., Lykke Mortensen, E., Pinborg, A., Svensson, J., & Clausen, T. (2022). School performance in Danish children exposed to maternal type 1 diabetes in utero: A nationwide retrospective cohort study. PLoS medicine, 19(4), e1003977. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003977

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