Aim: To examine the relationship between neonatal hypoglycaemia and specific areas of executive function and behaviour in mid-childhood.
Method: Participants in a prospective cohort study of infants born late preterm or at term at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia were assessed at 9 to 10 years. We assessed executive function using performance-based (Cambridge Neuropsychological Tests Automated Battery) and questionnaire-based (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function) measures and behaviour problems with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Data are reported as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals, and standardized regression coefficients.
Results: We assessed 480 (230 females, 250 males; mean age 9 years 5 months [SD 4 months, range 8 years 8 months–11 years 0 months]) of 587 eligible children (82%). There were no differences in performance-based executive function between children who did and did not experience neonatal hypoglycaemia (blood glucose <2.6 mmoL/L). However, children who experienced hypoglycaemia, especially if severe or recurrent, were at greater risk of parent-reported metacognition difficulties (aOR 2.37–3.71), parent-reported peer (aOR 1.62–1.89) and teacher-reported conduct (aOR 2.14 for severe hypoglycaemia) problems. Both performance- and questionnaire-based executive functions were associated with behaviour problems.
Interpretation: Neonatal hypoglycaemia may be associated with difficulties in specific aspects of parent-reported executive functions and behaviour problems in mid-childhood. Copyright © 2023 The Authors.