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Diabetes Care. 2003 Jul;26(7):1961-6.

Carbohydrate-induced memory impairment in adults with type 2 diabetes.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Memory impairment is observed in adults with type 2 diabetes. The focus of this study was to determine whether acute carbohydrate consumption contributes to or exacerbates memory dysfunction.


The impact of consuming 50 g of rapidly absorbed carbohydrate (one half bagel and white grape juice) at breakfast was examined in 19 adults with type 2 diabetes. Subjects (mean age 63 +/- 9 years, mean BMI 26.1 +/- 4.5 kg/m(2)) were tested, under fed and fasted conditions, on verbal declarative memory using both word list and paragraph recall tests (immediate and delayed [7-min] recall), Trails Test Part B as a measure of general brain function, and mood (subjectively monitoring global vigor and affect).


Under baseline (fasting) conditions, elevated blood HbA(1c) was negatively associated with immediate and delayed paragraph recall performance (R(2) = 0.30; P = 0.024) and higher fasting blood glucose trended toward poorer word list recall (R(2) = 0.09; P = 0.102). Carbohydrate ingestion influenced measures of delayed, but not immediate, recall in a time-dependent fashion (time x food) (word list, P = 0.046; paragraph, P = 0.044) such that delayed recall was improved at 15 min postingestion but was impaired at 30 min. Neither Trails Test scores (P = 0.17) nor mood (affect, P = 0.68 and vigor, P = 0.45) were influenced by food ingestion.


In adults with type 2 diabetes, poorer glycemic control is associated with lower performance on tests of declarative memory. Acute ingestion of high glycemic index carbohydrate foods further contributes to the underlying memory impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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