Sugared drinks can boost memory retention
Jan 19, 2006 - 3:37:37 PM

Sugared drinks can help boost memory retention and combat dementia, a study has found.

Researchers led by Leigh Riby from Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, focused on an area of the brain known as the hippocampus, which creates new memories but declines with the onset of dementia, a memory disorder in older people.

They studied 25 volunteers aged between 18 and 52 years and asked them to remember a list of words. The researchers used a series of memory tests and brain-imaging techniques to assess how volunteers responded after guzzling sugary drinks, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

Those that drank orange-flavoured water containing 25g of sugar, about the same as a can of Coca-Cola, could remember 11 percent more words. If the participants consumed twice that amount of sugar, they showed a 17 percent improvement, the researchers said.

They were also around 100 milliseconds faster at remembering sets of letters shown to them a few minutes earlier.

Riby contented: "Our research shows that consuming a glucose drink can significantly boost memory recall."

The researchers found the hippocampus lit up with activity after participants had a sweetened drink and they were able to recall 17 percent more than without a drink.

"It is widely accepted that when humans face a stressful situation they experience a natural rise in glucose in the body, particularly in the hippocampus," Riby said.

"They also tend to remember these dangerous or scary occurrences more clearly than other memories.

"This glucose-memory system has evolved to help humans survive. Unfortunately, it is compromised in old age."

"What's more, our work on young and middle aged adults shows if we can 'train' our bodies early in life to effectively use their own glucose reserves, poor memory function can be minimised in adulthood."

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