Glucose enhancement of memory is modulated by trait anxiety in healthy adolescent males

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Smith, Michael ; Hii, Hilary ; Foster, Jonathan ; van Eekelen, Anke (2011)

Glucose administration is associated with memory enhancement in healthy young individuals under conditions of divided attention at encoding. While the specific neurocognitive mechanisms underlying this ‘glucose memory facilitation effect’ are currently uncertain, it is thought that individual differences in glucoregulatory efficiency may alter an individual’s sensitivity to the glucose memory facilitation effect. In the present study, we sought to investigate whether basal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis function (itself a modulator of glucoregulatory efficiency), baseline self-reported stress and trait anxiety influence the glucose memory facilitation effect. Adolescent males (age range = 14–17 years) were administered glucose and placebo prior to completing a verbal episodic memory task on two separate testing days in a counter-balanced, within-subjects design. Glucose ingestion improved verbal episodic memory performance when memory recall was tested (i) within an hour of glucose ingestion and encoding, and (ii) one week subsequent to glucose ingestion and encoding. Basal hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis function did not appear to influence the glucose memory facilitation effect; however, glucose ingestion only improved memory in participants reporting relatively higher trait anxiety. These findings suggest that the glucose memory facilitation effect may be mediated by biological mechanisms associated with trait anxiety.
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