We all know the effects of overeating on our body (especially at this time of year!) but new Italian research suggests that regular overindulging may also damage the brain.
Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome discovered that a molecule, called CREB1, is triggered by calorie restriction in the brain of mice. CREB1, they discovered, activates many genes linked to longevity and to the proper brain function.
Previous studies have suggested that obesity is bad for our brain function, making it more susceptible to diseases typical of older people such as Alzheimer's, while calorie restriction keeps the brain young. However, until now the precise molecular mechanism behind this has remained unknown.
"Thus, our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain," lead researcher Dr Giovambattista Pani said.
"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 shed light on the correlation among metabolic diseases as diabetes and obesity and the decline in cognitive activities."
Dr Pani said they hoped to find a way to activate CREB1 without a strict diet, in order so to keep the brain young.
The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.