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The effects of Type 1 diabetes on executive functioning in children Aged 6-10: An event-related potential study

Chia, Marissa-Lynn (2014) The effects of Type 1 diabetes on executive functioning in children Aged 6-10: An event-related potential study. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The relationship between Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) and cognition has received considerable attention and remains a controversial topic due to inconsistent findings regarding the effect T1DM has on cognition, including the domain of executive functioning. The current study aimed at examining the effect of T1DM on executive functioning in children using event-related potentials (ERPs) to determine if deficits in executive functioning are associated with the disease. Two ERP components associated with executive functioning – the N2 and P3b – were observed for differences between Type 1 diabetics and controls. A total of 97 children – 48 T1DM and 49 controls – between the ages of 6 and 10 participated in the current study. Participants performed a modified visual Flanker task while electroencephalograms (EEGs) were recorded. Both groups did not differ significantly in behavioral performance on the Flanker task. Significant differences were found posteriorly in an ERP component known as the late Positive Slow Wave (PSW), which is associated with sustaining attention in a task, between the T1DM and control groups in the incongruous and switch trials of the Flanker task. No significant differences were found in the N2 and P3b components. These results highlight that there are minimal differences in sustained attention between children with Type 1 diabetes compared to their healthy counterparts, but not in other domains of executive functioning. Directions for future research were discussed including the need to conduct a follow-up study on this sample of children, possibly in adulthood, to determine if longer disease duration has effects on executive functioning.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Supervisor(s): Anderson, Mike and Roberts, Gareth
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