Absence of an association between insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and developmental learning difficulties

Hereditas. 1995;122(1):73-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5223.1995.00073.x.


For several years, investigators have been examining the relationship between learning difficulties and a variety of immunological disorders. Two recent studies by Hansen and colleagues reported a negative association between Type 1 diabetes and reading disabilities (dyslexia): subjects with Type 1 diabetes had a lower prevalence of dyslexia than their nondiabetic relatives. In order to control for the impact of environmental variables on learning, we investigated the relationship between Type 1 diabetes and learning problems in 27 sibling pairs, ranging in age from 6 to 20 years. One child in each pair had Type 1 diabetes, and the other child was the unaffected sibling closest in age. Children were assessed for cognitive skills, academic achievement in reading, mathematics, and written language, as well as for speech articulation and motor coordination. Other variables that were examined included handedness, behavioural variables, medical history, and pregnancy and birth complications. We found no significant differences between the 27 children with Type 1 diabetes and their unaffected siblings on any of the cognitive, academic achievement, or speech articulation measures. There were also no significant differences on handedness, behavioural variables, or health history.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Learning Disabilities / genetics*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nuclear Family