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Preliminary evidence that glucose ingestion facilitates prospective memory performance

Riby, Leigh; Law, Anna; McLaughlin, Jennifer; Murray, Jennifer


Leigh Riby

Anna Law

Jennifer McLaughlin


Previous research has found that the ingestion of glucose boosts task performance in the memory
domain (including tasks tapping episodic, semantic, and working memory). The present pilot study
tested the hypothesis that glucose ingestion would enhance performance on a test of prospective
memory. In a between-subjects design, 56 adults ranging from 17 to 80 years of age performed a
computerized prospective memory task and an attention (filler) task after 25 g of glucose or a
sweetness-matched placebo. Blood glucose measurements were also taken to assess the impact of
individual differences on glucose regulation. After the drink containing glucose, cognitive
facilitation was observed on the prospective memory task after excluding subjects with impaired
fasting glucose level. Specifically, subjects receiving glucose were 19% more accurate than subjects
receiving a placebo, a trend that was marginally nonsignificant, F1,41 = 3.4, P = .07, but that had a
medium effect size, d = 0.58. Subjects receiving glucose were also significantly faster on the
prospective memory task, F1,35 = 4.8, P b .05, d = 0.6. In addition, elevated baseline blood glucose
(indicative of poor glucose regulation) was associated with slower prospective memory responding,
F1, 35 = 4.4, P b .05, d = 0.57. These data add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that both
memory and executive functioning can benefit from the increased provision of glucose to the brain.


Riby, L., Law, A., McLaughlin, J., & Murray, J. (2011). Preliminary evidence that glucose ingestion facilitates prospective memory performance. Nutrition Research, 31, 370-377.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2015
Print ISSN 0271-5317
Electronic ISSN 1879-0739
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Pages 370-377
Keywords Carbohydrates; Glucose; Glucose regulation; Cognition; Mental performance; Prospective memory
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