Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Forget to eat and improve your memory?

Fruit flies, threadworms, mice, and monkeys live longer when they are calorie deprived. The skinny silhouettes of old nonagenarians suggest that the same holds true for humans. Here's a small study that suggests brain benefits for those who underindulge.

German neurologists invited 50 overweight, aging Deutschelanders down to the lab for a diet trial with a twist. The subjects were, on average, sixty years old and a little overweight. Twenty of them reduced their calorie intake by 30% for three months, twenty ate the same number of calories but switched out their fats to the unsaturated variety, and ten motored on with no change at all.

At the start and the finish of the three month study, the subjects took a memory test that checked their ability to recall a 15 item word list after thirty minutes. The calorie-deprived group upped their scores post-dieting by 20% but the other groups had no better recall than when they began.

Could this mean that fewer calories enhances cognition? Maybe...as always, the researchers called for more research (and perhaps for more research grants).


Wendy said...

I don't think I'll take a chance on this one. I'd rather eat, drink and be merry. LOL!

dorsey said...

I have a note that low-dose resveratrol* did even better than calorie restriction re. heart genes, at least in rats. maybe a combo would be good. Maybe imagining eating rats would inspire calorie restriction and red wine drinking.

*the web site is 20 pages long or I'd pass it along.