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A sugary nudge to your memory

Australian scientist have arrived at the conclusion that having sugary cereals in your breakfast can boost your memory.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Melbourne
UPDATED ON JUL 07, 2007 02:37 AM IST

Latest research by scientists in Australia suggests that eating sugary breakfast cereals can improve the memory of teenagers.

Earlier studies have shown mixed results with some researchers saying that sugary cereals could contribute to obesity while others claiming that it may sharpen the brain.

As part of the new study, scientists studied 37 students, aged 14 to 17, who ate a popular corn-based cereal with a high Glycaemic Index or a high fibre bran-based cereal with a low Glycaemic Index.

Glycemic index (GI) is a ranking system for carbohydrates based on their effect on blood glucose levels in the first two hours of consumption.

The researchers then tested the students to see how well they could memorise a list of 20 names of tools, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and kitchen utensils. The participants who ate the high-GI cereal remembered on average two more words, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.

"Those who had consumed the high-GI cereals recalled significantly more words than those who consumed the low-GI breakfast cereal," said researcher Michael Smith.

The participants were distracted by having to make a series of hand movements while trying to memorise words. Smith said this "divided attention" test reflects what happens in the real world, especially for adolescents in a busy classroom.

"Very rarely will the students have 100 per cent attention focused on the teacher," he said. However, medical experts in Australia have warned against giving teens more high-sugar foods and drinks to boost their performance.

The research is to be presented to the World Congress of Neuroscience meeting in Melbourne later this month.

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