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Differentiation of hypoglycaemia induced cognitive impairments. An electrophysiological approach.

H G Smid, B G Trümper, G Pottag, K Wagner, R Lobmann, H Scheich, H Lehnert, H J Heinze
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/120.6.1041 1041-1056 First published online: 1 June 1997


Effects of hypoglycaemia on distinct cognitive processes were assessed with event-related brain-potential (ERP) measures and reaction times in a hybrid selective-attention/response-choice task. One group of subjects received a euglycaemia-hypoglycaemia-euglycaemia treatment order and a second group a euglycaemia-placebo(euglycaemia)-euglycaemia sequence of treatments. During hypoglycaemia, ERP measures of selective attention (selection negativity), response choice (lateralized readiness potential) and reaction time were delayed compared with baseline performance. After restoration of euglycaemia, the onset of the selection negativity returned to baseline, whereas the lateralized readiness potential was still delayed, and error frequencies remained elevated. These results suggest that hypoglycaemia delays both the stimulus selection and the motor-response selection. They further suggest that the stimulus-selection process recovers quickly after restoration of euglycaemia, but that the response-selection process does not. Slow shifts in cortical potentials with a broad frontal distribution that occurred during hypoglycaemia, are discussed in relation to frontal lobe mechanisms involved in the control of subordinate, modality-specific selection mechanisms.