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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Late-night snacks ‘could wreak havoc on your memory’ -

Late-night snacks ‘could wreak havoc on your memory’ - 

Late-night snacks could have a negative impact on your learning and memory abilities, according to a new study.
The research from the University of California found that eating regular meals at times that are normally for sleeping reduced the cognitive performance of mice, and similar effects could exist in humans.
Dawn Loh, first author of the study said: “We have provided the first evidence that taking regular meals at the wrong time of day has far-reaching effects for learning and memory.”
The team of researchers tested whether mice were able to recognise an object. Mice who were regularly fed during their sleep-time were significantly less able to remember the object, and their long-term memory was also greatly reduced.
Both these functions are controlled by a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is involved in activating nerve impulses along certain pathways.

When an experience is repeated, those same pathways are supposed to increase in strength — but this effect was reduced when the sleep cycle was affected by meal time disruption.
In the mice fed late at night, the activity of a protein called CREB was lessened. This protein may be involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and it being less active decreases memory.
It’s suspected that different brain areas not being in synch may be the cause of the memory issues.
The team also found disruptions to sleep patterns, leading to broken up sleep and short naps to catch up on the sleep lost during the night.
Professor Christopher Colwell, one of the researchers on the study, said: “Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how the timing of food can impact cogitation.
“For the first time, we have shown that simply adjusting the time when food is made available alters the molecular clock in the hippocampus and can alter the cognitive performance of mice.”


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