Skip to comments.Eat Less, Remember More?
Posted on 01/29/2009 12:37:00 AM PST by neverdem
Did Grandma seem forgetful at the holiday parties last month? It could be time to put her on a diet. Sharply reducing calories improves memory in older adults, according to one of the first studies of dietary restriction and cognitive function in humans.
Research on the benefits of an extremely low-calorie diet stretches back to the 1930s, when scientists found that rats lived up to twice as long when they nibbled less than control animals. Since then, some studies with rodents and nonhuman primates have shown that this spare diet, known as calorie restriction, improves some markers of diabetes and heart disease, such as blood glucose and triglyceride levels, and possibly prevents neurological declines similar to those seen with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In humans, however, the results have been mixed. Subjects on low-calorie diets generally have lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels than their chow-happy counterparts. But these studies were small, and none was designed to test how calorie restriction might affect cognitive performance.
To fill that void, neurologist Agnes Flöel and her colleagues at the University of Muenster in Germany recruited 50 healthy elderly subjects. The average volunteer was 60 years old and overweight, with a body mass index of 28. The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to one of three groups. Twenty people were instructed to reduce their daily calorie intake by 30%, while still eating a balanced diet of nutrient-rich carbohydrates, fats, and lean proteins. Another 20 were told to keep their caloric intake the same but increase their consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in salmon or olive oil. (Previous studies have linked a diet rich in these fats to improved cognition.) The remaining 10 volunteers did not change their diets.
After 3 months, all of the volunteers took a memory test in which they were shown 15 words and asked how many they could remember after 30 minutes. On average, those in the calorie-restriction group showed a 20% improvement over their baseline memory scores taken before they started their diets. Subjects in the other two groups showed little or no improvement, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Our study only provides some of the first evidence on the impact of [calorie restriction] on memory in the elderly, but this study has to be followed up now," Flöel wrote in an e-mail to Science. Her team plans to conduct larger studies to determine exactly how calorie restriction enhances memory.
Neuroscientist Laura Dugan of University of California, San Diego, cautions that subjects in the study were overweight at the outset, so their memory improvement could have come from returning to a healthier body weight rather than from simple calorie restriction. Being overweight can cause sleep apnea, for example, which could interfere with cognitive function. But Giulio Pasinetti, a neuroscientist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, praises the study as the first controlled test of calorie restriction and memory. "The most important message is that moderation in lifestyle--dietary lifestyle--is probably beneficial for our mental activities," he says.
FReepmail me if you want on or off the diabetes ping list.
other than the top chef still employed from the Bush Admin to Obozo Admin, the Obozo’s have brought in their PERSONAL CHEF Yahooo News seems to herald this news as whatever the Ofreako’s eat will lead this nation ; the United States of America on a better road to health.
Fat and stupid aren’t accidental associations.
...and now fat is closely associated with “low class” in many circles.
Besides a chef did he have a butler, amid, nanny and other staff when he lived in Chicago. The media never mentioned he had a private chef when he lived in Chicago with his family. A full time private chef is unusual in this day in age even for people in the Obama’s income group. That’s $80,000 to $100,000 minimum for a private chef. I suppose he could have hired them after his two books hit it big and he had lots of cash.
This isn’t new. Anyone with diabetes knows when your sugar spikes it causes confusion. And that confusion would be more marked in older adults.
It looks like Grammy Robinson wasn’t cookin’ his waffles after all - she was doing nanny to the kids, right?
On to the private chef thing tho......... i doubt these two could ever possibly set an example for health, especially when Oholio complained about arugala which most people don’t even know about and can much less afford.
they are elitists. thanks for the breaking news on his Chicago Hyde Park pre-WH staff. I hope conservative talk radio picks up this point
Arugala is a county in Northwest Alabama.
oh sweet, i thought it was araugula lol
So I guess this means we should stop giving aid to help feed starving people so that they can remember why they are dieing.
When did an average age of 60 become elderly? Elderly to me is 80 or 90. I’m 54 and can still do everything I’ve always done. I run, ride a mountain bike, etc. and even finished college at 53. I don’t feel almost elderly yet. :-)
Most people are fat from overeating and underexercising, but some are heavy because of necessary medications that cause weight gain and bloating. Cortisone and other steroids are an example.
Such people do not desrve your condemnation. There but for grace go any of us.
i doubt these two could ever possibly set an example for health, especially when Oholio complained about arugala which most people dont even know about and can much less afford.
I believe he was talking to guys who farm the stuff.
There is a big question of the bias of the investigator in this not-double-blind study. Investigator bias regularly, often innocently, makes the results of behavioral studies come out to the investigator's liking.
The reults of animal studies might be persuasive, but this result is not. There's no point in getting all theoretical to explain a finding of this human study, until your own experience convinces you or the investigator's opponent finds the same thing and someone shows how a couple of words translates into practical life or curing a disease process.
When I don’t eat, I always remember that I haven’t eaten.
and sure enough he was /
Misinformation — even amusing misinformation — does not benefit conservatives at this point. It calls into question reliability and credibility on things economic.
As a grandma, I worry about the political implications of medical findings of this sort. On the weakest sort of evidence, we could find ourselves issued tickets for our 30%-under-maintenance daily rations. As Nancy Pelosi might say, it could help the recovery effort if old people just ate less than their maintenance requirement.
Before swallowing this theory, I would suggest you read Gary Taubes book, GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES. It is a history of the medical treatment of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity with a full discussion on all the low calorie diet tests. I believe the report is leaving something out of the equation.
Think about it. If a person is put on a semi-starvation diet, wouldn’t the body natural defenses be to put what energy it does have into cognitive abilities so as to help rectify the situation? That may initially slow the progress of certain diseases, but that isn’t a cure since the person is actually slowly starving to death!
>>>Think about it. If a person is put on a semi-starvation diet, wouldnt the body natural defenses be to put what energy it does have into cognitive abilities so as to help rectify the situation?
That’s where my mind went with the premise of this study. Sharpening the senses to end the famine.
“Think about it. If a person is put on a semi-starvation diet, wouldnt the body natural defenses be to put what energy it does have into cognitive abilities so as to help rectify the situation? That may initially slow the progress of certain diseases, but that isnt a cure since the person is actually slowly starving to death!”
This was my first thought. Evolution-schmevolution aside, when a creature gets hungry, its level of cunning goes up as a means to finding more food. There won’t be a cure for many of the extant conditions until there is more money in that cure than can be found in treatment/prolonging that condition.
Less food = less toxins.
There are interesting associatons.
Check the keyword ad36.
Winston Churchill, Rush Limbaugh vs Alan Combs, Denis Kucinich. Just saying....
Is this why I always forget that I’ve eaten half a bag of Doritos and hence must complete the task?
If the person is an overweight type 2 diabetic, that's unlikely. Enter Feinman RD, Volek JS into the query box at PubMed. They wrote some very interesting papers. Most of the 10 articles are free.
Actually it is possible to be obese and be starving. It has been proven by clinical trials. Again, read Gary Taubes detailed history of the medical treatment of diabetes in GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES where he details the study.
FYI, Taubes is a writer for SCIENCE and has won several awards for his investigative reports on scientific controversies. He does have degrees in science as well.