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Eat Less, Remember More and other memory tricks

Eat Less, Remember More... And Other Memory-Boosting Tricks
According to an Italian study, skipping dessert or having a light lunch could benefit more than just your waistline. Eating less could help you remember more and boost your brain power, too.
Scientists from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome investigated 'calorific restriction', a theory that near-starvation rations help boost health and memory.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested the theory on lab rats and found that cutting back the calories by 25 - 30% (around 600 calories a day) helped boost the production of the memory and learning protein, CREB1.
"It is just 25 to 30 per cent fewer calories. It is like not eating a cake at the end of the meal. This gives us a tool to better investigate this brain circuitry and try to figure out more drugs that do the same," says lead researcher Dr. Giovambattista Pani, from the study.
"We are trying a couple of compounds right now on animals but it is at a very preliminary stage. Our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain. This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the ageing process.
"Our hope is to find a way to activate CREB1, for example through new drugs, so to keep the brain young without the need of a strict diet," Dr. Pani added.
While eating less helps increase brainpower, drinking more also has its benefits. Well, more coffee that is, as this helps up the CREB1 levels.
But it’s not all about what you eat (or rather, what you don’t eat…) as another study suggests that the key to a good memory could soon lie in a 'memory-boosting pill'.

Neuroscientists from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a way of suppressing a key PKR immune molecule in the brain that boosts communication between the neurons that help improve memory and brain function. Researchers came to this conclusion after injecting an inhibitor into lab rats to suppress the molecule and then put them through a series of memory-related tests.
"For instance, when the authors assessed spatial memory through a test in which mice use visual cues for finding a hidden platform in a circular pool, they found that normal mice had to repeat the task multiple times over many days in order to remember the platform's location," lead researcher Dr Costa-Mattioli told ScienceDaily.
"By contrast, mice lacking PKR learned the task after only one training session."
Researchers added that they are hoping to mimick this reaction with a drug in the future, bringing hope to Alzheimer’s sufferers, as well as those suffering from injury-related memory-loss.
"Let's say we'd compare with Viagra. People use Viagra at whatever age, let's say 60, 65," he explained. "But someone (who) is 40 goes to buy it, they can get it. But this is not our goal. Our goal would be to treat people who have a memory problem", Dr. Mattioli told The Sun.
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