Obesity has long been known to affects the brain’s cognitive function and aging of the brain. Recently, Italian scientists have discovered that eating fewer calories triggers a protein called CREB1, which actives genes linked to longevity and brain young.
CREB1 is a protein molecule known to regulate important brain functions such as memory, learning, organizing, and anxiety control. Along with the aging, the efficacy of this protein is reduced, causing a decline in cognitive function.
The study was conducted intensively in mice by researchers of the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, where the mice were fed a calorie-restricted diet, means the animals can only eat up to 70 percent of what they would consume normally. The result showed that caloric-restricted mice does not become obese and do not experience diabetes. Furthermore, these mice have less symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease when compared to overfed mice.
“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,” said led researcher, Dr. Giovambattista Pani, a researcher at the Institute of General Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome, as quoted from telegraph.
The finding backs up previous studies on CREB1, which is known to play an important role in a variety of brain functions including memory and learning.
The researchers demonstrated that by limiting the amount of calories intake to the mice, they could significantly increase the activity of CREB1 in the brain and keep the brain young.
Unfortunately, in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, researchers had not find out the precise molecular mechanisms behind the positive effects of low-calorie diet on the brain.