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Oct 24, 2013 01:11 PM EDT

Low Glucose Levels Improves Memory And Decreases Risk Of Dementia

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Low blood sugar levels might protect older adults from memory loss, according to a study CBS News reported.

New research published Oct. 23 in the The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology" found that low blood sugar levels led to memory benefits in healthy adults.

"These results suggest that even people within the normal range of blood sugar, lowering their blood sugar levels could be a promising strategy for preventing memory problems and cognitive decline as they age," study author Dr. Agnes Floel, a neuroscientist at Charite University Medicine in Berlin, Germany, said in a press release.

In the study, participants' memory skills were tested, along with their blood glucose. Participants also had brain scans to measure the size of the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory, according to researchers.

They found that people with lower blood sugar levels were more likely to have better scores on the memory tests, where they needed to recall 15 words 30 minutes after hearing them. Recalling fewer words was associated with those with higher blood sugar levels.

 Brain scans showed that people with higher blood sugar levels also had smaller volumes in the hippocampus.

The study involved 141 people with an average age of 63 who did not have diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition in which levels of blood sugar, or glucose, are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.

In August, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle who tracked blood sugar in people with and without diabetes over seven years found higher glucose levels were associated with a higher risk of dementia among non-diabetics.

"It's not surprising that glucose levels can potentially have these kinds of negative impacts. The risk of dementia is higher in people with diabetes," Dr. Robert Ratner, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, told USA Today.

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