The effects of glucose ingestion and glucose regulation on memory performance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):566-71. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602981. Epub 2008 Feb 13.


Background/objectives: Previous research investigating the impact of glucose ingestion and/or improvements in glucose regulation has found selective cognitive facilitation on episodic memory tasks in successful ageing and dementia. The present study aimed to extend this research to mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Subjects/methods: In a repeated-measures design, 24 older adults with and 24 older adults without MCI performed a battery of memory and attention tasks after 25 g of glucose or a sweetness matched placebo. In addition, to assess the impact of individual differences in glucose regulation, blood glucose measurements were taken throughout the testing session.

Results: Consistent with previous research, cognitive facilitation was observed for episodic memory tasks only in both successful ageing and MCI. Older adults with MCI had a similar glucose regulatory response as controls but their fasting levels were elevated. Notably, higher levels of blood glucose were associated with impaired memory performance in both the glucose and placebo conditions. Importantly, both blood glucose and memory performance indices were significant predictors of MCI status.

Conclusions: The utility of glucose supplementation and the use of glucose regulation as a biological marker are discussed in relation to these data.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Reference Values


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose