Methods We conducted a follow-up study of adult offspring of women with Type 1 diabetes (n = 158) and a reference group from the background population (n = 118). The main outcome measure was offspring cognitive function measured by global cognitive score, derived from Raven's Progressive Matrices and three verbal subtests from the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale.
Results Offspring of women with Type 1 diabetes obtained lower global cognitive scores (94.8 vs. 100.0, P = 0.004) than offspring from the background population. When adjusted for confounders, the groups no longer differed significantly (difference 0.4, 95% CI -3.3 to 4.). Positive predictors of cognitive function in offspring of women with diabetes were family social class, parental educational level, maternal diabetes duration, male gender and offspring age, whereas parity ≥ 1 and gestational age < 34 weeks were negative predictors. We found no association with maternal glycaemia during pregnancy or with neonatal hypoglycaemia.
Conclusions Impaired cognitive function in adult offspring of women with Type 1 diabetes compared with the background population apparently reflects differences with respect to well-known confounders. However, harmful effects of maternal hyperglycaemia may be mediated through delivery at < 34 weeks.