Glucose administration and cognitive function: Differential effects of age and effort during a dual task paradigm in younger and older adults

Helen Macpherson, Bernadette Roberstson, Sandra Sünram-Lea, Con Stough, David Kennedy, Andrew Scholey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Current research suggests that glucose facilitates performance on cognitive tasks which possess an episodic memory component and a relatively high level of cognitive demand. However, the extent to which this glucose facilitation effect is uniform across the lifespan is uncertain. Methods: This study was a repeated measures, randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial designed to assess the cognitive effects of glucose in younger and older adults under single and dual task conditions. Participants were 24 healthy younger (average age 20.6 years) and 24 healthy older adults (average age 72.5 years). They completed a recognition memory task after consuming drinks containing 25 g glucose and a placebo drink, both in the presence and absence of a secondary tracking task. Results and conclusions: Glucose enhanced recognition memory response time and tracking precision during the secondary task, in older adults only. These findings do not support preferential targeting of hippocampal function by glucose, rather they suggest that glucose administration differentially increases the availability of attentional resources in older individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1142
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cognitive enhancement
  • Glucose
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory

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