Explicit memory performance in infants of diabetic mothers at 1 year of age

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Aug;47(8):525-31. doi: 10.1017/s0012162205001039.


The aim of the present research was to investigate the impact of abnormal fetal environment on explicit memory performance. Based on animal models, it was hypothesized that infants of diabetic mothers (IDMs) experience perturbations in memory performance due to exposure to multiple neurologic risk factors including: chronic hypoxia, hyperglycemia/reactive hypoglycemia, and iron deficiency. Memory performance, as measured by the elicited/deferred imitation paradigm, was compared between 13 IDMs (seven females, six males; mean age 365 days, SD 11) and 16 typically developing children (seven females, nine males; mean age 379 days, SD 9). The IDM group was characterized by shorter gestational age (mean 38w, SD 2), greater standardized birthweight scores (mean 3797g, SD 947), and lower iron stores (mean ferritin concentration 87C microg/L, SD 68) in comparison with the control group (mean gestational age: 40w, SD 1; mean birthweight: 3639g, SD 348; mean newborn ferritin concentration 140 microg/L, SD 46). After statistically controlling for both gestational age and global cognitive abilities, IDMs demonstrated a deficit in the ability to recall multi-step event sequences after a delay was imposed. These findings highlight the importance of the prenatal environment on subsequent mnemonic behavior and suggest a connection between metabolic abnormalities during the prenatal period, development of memory, circuitry, and behavioral mnemonic performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Infant
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Recall
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Videotape Recording