In pediatric T1D, HbA1c correlates with academic test scores

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Takeaway

  • Among children with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the better their diabetes is controlled (per HbA1c), the better their scores on standardized reading and math tests.
  • Overall, these children do not differ from unaffected peers in test scores.

Why this matters

  • Good diabetes control may be important for academic performance in children.

Key results

  • Mean scores with and without T1D were:
    • 56.56 vs 56.11;
    • Difference: 0.45 (95% CI, −0.31 to 1.22).
  • With adjustments for nonsocioeconomic factors, the difference was:
    • 0.24 (95% CI, −0.90 to 1.39). 
  • With adjustment for socioeconomic status, it was:
    • 0.45 (95% CI, −0.58 to 1.49).
  • A sibling comparison (with, without T1D) also found no significant differences.
  • Compared with HbA1c ≤8.6%, higher HbA1c was tied to lower scores: 
    • Mean, 56.11 vs 49.95; 
    • Difference, −6.15 (95% CI, −7.80 to −4.50).
  • HbA1c significantly associated with test scores (P<.001 with each increase linked to an adjusted score reduction ci>

Study design

  • Retrospective Danish cohort study, children in grades 2-4, 6, and 8.
  • 524,764 with math scores; 1,037,006 with reading scores.
  • Outcome: pooled test scores (1-100 range).
  • Funding: Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Limitations

  • Denmark-specific; socioeconomic status associations especially could vary with region.