High blood sugar and memory problems: not just a diabetic concern

Even people without diabetes are more likely to suffer from memory problems if they have high blood sugar levels, according to a new German study.

The findings suggest that early prevention strategies against both diabetes and cognitive decline should involve a diet that will enable healthy blood sugar levels.

The study

The research involved 141 people with an average age of 63. None of the participants had diabetes or pre-diabetes. People who were overweight, people who drank more than three drinks a day, or people who already had memory problems were not included in the study.

Researchers tested the subjects' memory skills and blood glucose levels, while also performing brain scans on the participants to measure the size of the hippocampus – the area of the brain that plays a significant role in memory.

Surprising results

Participants with lower blood sugar levels were found to have better scores on the memory tests as well as larger volumes in the hippocampus. In a word recall test, subjects who were asked to recall a list of 15 words 30 minutes after hearing them performed better if they had lower blood sugar levels.

“These results suggest that even for people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age,” said study author Agnes Flöel, M.D., of Charité University Medicine in Berlin, Germany. “Strategies such as lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity should be tested.”

The study is published in the journal Neurology.

Source: Science Daily

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