Mini-review: impact of recurrent hypoglycemia on cognitive and brain function

Physiol Behav. 2010 Jun 1;100(3):234-8. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.01.004. Epub 2010 Jan 22.


Recurrent hypoglycemia (RH), the most common side-effect of intensive insulin therapy for diabetes, is well established to diminish counter-regulatory responses to further hypoglycemia. However, despite significant patient concern, the impact of RH on cognitive and neural function remains controversial. Here we review the data from both human studies and recent animal studies regarding the impact of RH on cognitive, metabolic, and neural processes. Overall, RH appears to cause brain adaptations which may enhance cognitive performance and fuel supply when euglycemic but which pose significant threats during future hypoglycemic episodes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cognition*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemia / metabolism*
  • Hypoglycemia / psychology*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / adverse effects*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin