Metabolic Brain Disease

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 721–728 | Cite as

The nature of the control of blood glucose in those with poorer glucose tolerance influences mood and cognition

  • Hayley Young
  • David Benton
Research Article


The ability to control the levels of blood glucose was related to mood and cognition. 155 adults, aged 45–85 years, without a diagnosis of diabetes, were given an oral glucose tolerance test and cognitive tests. Participants were classified according to age (41–60/61–85 years), whether they had better or poorer glucose tolerance and whether blood glucose did or did not fall below baseline values. There were two main findings. Those with poorer glucose tolerance forgot more words and had slower decision times, but only if 61 years or older. Secondly as there are reports in animal studies that inducing low levels of blood glucose values benefited cognitive performance, for the first time in humans, individual differences in the tendency to develop low levels of blood glucose were considered. In those with poor glucose tolerance a tendency for blood glucose to fall below baseline values was associated with better mood and faster working memory.


Glucose intolerance Hypoglycemia Memory Mild cognitive impairment Mood 



Low blood glucose


Glucose tolerance



The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest and that the work was not externally funded. We are grateful to the Swansea University for supplying the necessary facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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