With ageing slowly on the back of everybody’s mind these days, a new research has thrown light on how lower calories and cutting on carbs will help the brain keep its memory in tact and also keep off heart diseases and stroke.
While similar findings are not new, the latest one shows the link between calorie-reduced diet with 900 different genes and how it delays the ageing process in humans, suggesting for the first time that less calories and carbs help manipulation of the function of as many as 900 different genes which have impact on ageing of brain memory and its functions.
Lead researcher of the study, Dr Stephen Ginsberg, a neuroscientist at New York University’s Langone Medical Centre, said: “Our study shows how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the ageing phenotype – how some genes determine the behaviour of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old.”
The rider is that the findings do not warrant a ‘fountain of youth’ just by reducing calories but only add evidence that it delays the effects of ageing and age-related diseases including stroke. In the past few decades , several researches have shown the link but involving two or few genes and his analysis brought under scanner more than 10,000 genes.
Dr Ginsberg said the research “widens the door to further study into calorie restriction and anti-ageing genetics” explaining how a female mice fed with food pellets that had 30% fewer calories than those given to other mice in his study of tissue of the hippocampal region, showed up the positive results.
Female face brain and memory loss problems more than men and ideal for the study, he said and the hippocampal region of the brain is the first affected region in Alzheimer’s disease. Different age groups of mice in middle and late adulthood have been assessed for the difference in gene expression over time. Reduced carbs in diet have delayed the onset of ageing , besides delaying heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, he said.
The findings have been presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference in Washington DC.
In his remarks on the study, Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said it is still not clear whether these changes would translate into benefits for learning and memory in these mice. “Interventional studies would be needed in people to determine what impact calorie restriction might have on long-term health and age-related memory impairment,” he said.
Another problem is that it is still challenging to sustain for long on a calorie-restricted diet, thouhg it is beneficial for brain’s health. “It’s important to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, particularly into older age.” For this, he suggested stopping smoking, keeping ahealthy weight, taking balanced diet, moderate drinking and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.