Glucose deficit affects young and old, could impact school schedules

ll by 30 percent, but that in other brain areas remained stable. "Only the part of the brain involved with what the animal is asked to do is affected by changes in glucose usage," Gold said. "This is not simply a reflection of changes in circulating blood levels or drainage in other areas."

In Mays Journal of Gerontology, McNay, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology, and Gold reported that 24-month-old rats had a 48 percent decline in hippocampal extracellular glucose levels and needed 30 minutes to recover from a maze-related task. Three-month-old rats had a 12 percent decline and recovered quickly. Older rats given injected glucose supplements prior to testing did not show the drainage of glucose and performed at the same levels as the younger rats.

"Glucose enhances learning and memory not only in rats but also in many populations of humans," Gold said. "For schoolchildren, this research implies that the contents and timing of meals may need to be coordinated to have the most beneficial cognitive effects that enhance learning."


Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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