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If you want to boost your brain power, put down your fork. Research in Italy suggest that eating less turns on a molecule in the body that keeps the brain from aging as quickly.
A team of Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome have discovered that this molecule, called CREB1, is triggered by “caloric restriction” (low-caloric diet) in the brain of lab animals. They found that CREB1 activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper functioning of the brain.
Many studies suggest that obesity is bad for the brain, slows it down, and causes early brain aging, making it susceptible to diseases typical of older people such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In contrast, caloric restriction keeps the brain young.
“Thus, our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain,” says researcher Giovambattista Pani. “This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the aging process. In addition, our study sheds light on the correlation among metabolic diseases as diabetes and obesity and the decline in cognitive activities.”