The restoration of cognitive function was studied in 10 healthy men aged 26 years (25.5 +/- 1.2 years; mean +/- SD) after insulin-induced hypoglycaemia (arterialized blood glucose 2.5 +/- 0.4 mmol l-1) for 62 +/- 8 min. Another group of six men participated in a single blind sham study for comparison. The hypoglycaemic event caused a significant increase (p = 0.006) in serum adrenaline levels. Ratings of adrenergically mediated symptoms increased during hypoglycaemia (p = 0.006), as did neuroglycopenic symptoms (p = 0.002), although neuroglycopenia ratings increased in both studies. During hypoglycaemia, P300 amplitudes in a relatively demanding visual search task decreased (p = 0.02), whereas easier tasks were unaffected. The amplitudes were restored after 40 min of normoglycaemia. Reaction time deteriorated after restoration of normoglycaemia, suggesting an effect of hypoglycaemia on learning. Thus, hypoglycaemia at a blood glucose level that is common among patients treated with insulin causes clear cognitive dysfunction, although restoration of the cognitive dysfunction to normal was fast.