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Title: The relationship between blood glucose and psychological functioning
Author: Owens, D. S.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1993
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Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain. It seemed possible that fluctuations in the supply of glucose might influence the functioning. A series of studies considered the influence of glucose drinks, and increasing blood glucose, on self-reported mood. High blood glucose levels were associated with lower tension and greater subjective energy. A frustrating situation resulted in fewer negative behavioural responses in glucose drinkers who had fasted overnight. Mood-blood glucose relationships were examined in 12 healthy adults; relationships were idiosyncratic, however, high blood glucose tended to be related to the positive mood states of energy and calmness. Subjects whose blood glucose was rising recalled more items from a work list. Blood glucose was correlated with the number of words recalled. The glucose-induced improvement in memory occurred throughout the range of blood glucose and not just in those whose levels were low. Delayed recall of a Wechsler story was better in subjects whose blood glucose was maintained at higher levels rather than falling. Increasing blood glucose levels resulted in faster decision times and lower variability when reaction times were measured and faster responses during the incongruent test of the Stroop Task. Two different underlying mechanisms are discussed. Serotonin may be involved in the mood effects of glucose, and acetylcholine in the cognitive effects. However, as glucose is the primary fuel of the brain, it may not be possible to implicate a single transmitter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available