Neuroglycopenia induced behavioral changes and criminal responsibility

Samarendra Barman, Amar Jyoti Patowary, Prateek Rastogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive and behavioral impairment is a less addressed, but a wellrecognized complication of neuroglycopenia. Several scientific studies have found a strong link between low blood sugar and exertion of self-control & aggressive behavior in individuals with or without diabetes. Individual needs self-control to modify his behavior and it has been observed that there is a high propensity towards violent crime among people with diabetes, especially under the effect of hypoglycemia. Sudden and severe hypoglycemic dip can also lead to a trance like state where an individual may commit some antisocial acts and subsequently may come into conflict with the law. The present day legal system is in an obvious practical dilemma regarding ‘hypoglycemic state’ whether to consider it as a ‘disease of the mind’, since neuroglycopenia can cause ‘defect of reason’, even though for a temporary period. Future medicolegal research in relation to hypoglycemia, must seriously address issues related to the mental component of voluntariness for commission of crime under the effect of neuroglycopenia. Furthermore, commission of crime under such circumstances present difficult problems for the law enforcement agencies in assessment of criminal responsibility of the perpetrator because of lack of clear and uniform legal doctrines. Thus, this review paper tries to summarize existing information on the relationship between neuroglycopenia induced maladaptive behavior and criminal responsibility and attempts to make a critical discussion on the present legal standing for the hypoglycemic automatism plea. This paper is also an attempt to stress on the need of further research in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of South India Medicolegal Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 09-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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