Blood Sugar and Short-Term Memory

Published Online: Saturday, March 1, 2003

For every patient with Alzheimer?s disease, there are 8 people who suffer significant memory impairment but have no signs of the disease. Now a small, 30-person study reported in last month?s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may have revealed an important association between memory impairment and prediabetes, a condition involving a reduced ability to metabolize blood sugar.

Using glucose injections, memory tests, and magnetic resonance imaging, the study found that people with the highest blood sugar had the worst test scores and the smallest hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with short-term memory. Fortunately, the hippocampus has the potential for some recovery if individuals get their blood sugar under control. ?It?s a great motivator to stay off the calories and off the couch,? said New York University?s Dr. Antonio Convit, author of the study.

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