In Type I diabetic patients with history of recurrent severe hypoglycaemia, a more rapid decrease in vigilance (slowing of brain function) during hypoglycaemia in comparison to patients without history of such events was found. Our aims were: (1) to study EEG parameters of vigilance in non-hypoglycaemic state in representative groups of Type I diabetic patients with and without previous recurrent severe hypoglycaemia; and (2) to compare them with non-diabetic controls. A vigilance-controlled EEG mapping (10-20 system, significance probability maps) was performed in a non-hypoglycaemic state (blood glucose 4.0-10.0 mmol/l) in a group of 13 Type I diabetic patients with a history of recurrent severe hypoglycaemia and compared to that of 14 Type I diabetic patients without history of severe hypoglycaemia, matched for HbA1c, age and gender, and to age- and gender-matched non-diabetic controls. When compared to non-diabetic controls, hypoglycaemia patients demonstrated a reduction in absolute power in beta band (13-35 Hz) and slowing of centroid frequencies of beta and total frequency bands (1.3-35 Hz) (up to P < 0.01), whereas patients without history of severe hypoglycaemia showed only a borderline reduction of absolute power in delta (1.3-3.5 Hz) band. Deceleration in hypoglycaemia patients versus those without recurrent hypoglycaemia was most remarkable (P < .01) in centroid frequency of total frequency band. Patients with history of recurrent severe hypoglycaemia demonstrated in non-hypoglycaemic state significantly reduced vigilance when compared to the group without hypoglycaemia history and to the controls, as well. Lower vigilance may be at least in part responsible for impaired hypoglycaemia perception in these patients, but, as it resembles EEG patterns seen in pathologic ageing, it might also represent a consequence of recurrent episodes of severe hypoglycaemia.