Fuel for Thought? Neuroimaging Studies into Glucose

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Fuel for Thought? A Systematic Review of Neuroimaging Studies into Glucose Enhancement of Cognitive Performance.

A transient improvement in cognitive performance can be observed following the ingestion of a glucose drink, a phenomenon known as the ‘glucose facilitation effect’. The effect has been studied thoroughly in the last three decades, but its neural underpinnings remain a matter of speculation. A systematic review was conducted to evaluate the current evidence from studies applying neuroimaging or neurophysiological methods to investigate the glucose enhancement effect. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria of using neuroimaging in conjunction with cognitive outcomes. Six studies employed electroencephalography (EEG), four used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and one employed functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). All but one study reported modulation of neurophysiology or neuroimaging markers following glucose, while only five studies reported significant changes in cognitive outcomes. The evidence suggests that glucose administration enhances neurocognitive markers of episodic memory and attentional processes underpinned by medial temporal and frontal activation, sometimes in the absence of measurable behavioural effects. Further exploration of glucose facilitation using neuroimaging measures with increased sample sizes is warranted to replicate these findings.

PMID: 32162177 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Neuropsychol Rev. 2020 Mar 11;:

Authors: Peters R, White D, Cleeland C, Scholey A