Retrograde enhancement of kinesthetic memory by alcohol and by glucose

Andrew B. Scholey, Kathryn A. Fowles

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Several studies have reported that administration of a low dose of alcohol is capable of retrograde enhancement of memory. It has been postulated that the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this effect may involve the liberation of glucose and/or activation of reward centers. Here the effects of a low dose of alcohol were compared to those of glucose on kinesthetic memory. Mood and blood glucose levels were also measured. Compared with a placebo, both glucose and alcohol significantly enhanced kinesthetic memory performance. Only glucose ingestion resulted in significantly elevated blood glucose levels. The three groups' mood scores were statistically indistinguishable. Low-dose alcohol consumption does not result in the release of glucose nor does it affect any aspect of mood, at least as measured here. These results confirm that kinesthetic memory can be improved by administration of alcohol and extend the range of tasks which are sensitive to enhancement by glucose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Glucose
  • Kinesthetic memory
  • Mood
  • Reward

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