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Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Dec;19(8):523-35.

The impact of glucose ingestion and gluco-regulatory control on cognitive performance: a comparison of younger and middle aged adults.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


A great deal of research has been devoted to the issue of whether the ingestion of a glucose containing drink facilitates cognitive performance. However, it remains unclear exactly how age and individual differences in gluco-regulatory control mediate a boost in cognitive functioning. The present study investigates these issues further. A repeated measures (25 g vs 50 g glucose vs placebo) counterbalanced, double-blind design was used with 25 younger and middle-aged adults. A battery of memory and non-memory tasks was administered; including tests of episodic and semantic memory, attention and visuospatial functioning. Glucose ingestion largely facilitated performance on tasks with a memory component. Notably, task demands and age (young vs middle-aged) contributed to the magnitude of memory enhancement. This finding suggests an age- and load-specific benefit of glucose intake. In addition, evidence suggests greater facilitation in individuals with good glucose regulation. These data are discussed in relation to the idea that glucose specifically affects neural mechanisms supporting memory functioning (i.e. the hippocampus), which are known to decline in ageing. Importantly, the present investigation adds to the growing body of literature showing the utility of glucose supplementation as memory enhancers.

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