Objective: To find useful methods for the studies of cognitive function during a postprandial period, and to use these methods to evaluate function after test meals differing in post meal glycaemia.
Subjects/methods: Forty healthy volunteers aged 49-70 years were studied. A glucose solution (glucose 50 g) was provided through either a bolus or sipping regimen at breakfast to simulate a high-GI or a low-GI breakfast, respectively. Cognitive tests of working memory (WM) were performed at 35, 90, 120 and 150 min after commencing the breakfast, and a test of selective attention (SA) was performed at 170 min.
Results: Subjects with higher glucose tolerance performed better in the cognitive tests (P<0.05). After entering glucose tolerance as covariate, the subjects performed better in the working memory test at 90 min (P<0.034) and in the selective attention test at 170 min (P<0.017) after the simulated low-glycaemic index (GI) breakfast compared with the simulated high-GI breakfast.
Conclusion: Possibly, the cognitive functions tested were enhanced by avoiding a sharp decline in blood glucose concentration and by maintaining a higher glycaemia in the late postprandial period, respectively. A low-GI diet is preferable in the prevention of the risk of cognitive decline as a result of less efficient glucose regulation.