Weight loss can improve memory in elderly

Researchers have been spending time and money trying to find a therapy that can have the same tonic effect as a sharp reduction in calories. Now German scientists say that a 30 percent reduction in caloric intake among overweight seniors can significantly improve memory and thinking skills.

The theory is that test subjects are reducing insulin resistance and inflammation when they reduce the amount of calories they consume. And the approach could offer a new method for combating the initial symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline frequently seen in the elderly.

The research team recruited 49 subjects with a mean age of 60.5 and a body mass index just short of the obesity line. Each of the subjects in the dieting group was put on a diet of less than 1,200 calories a day and lost an average of five pounds. And they also demonstrated a marked improvement in memory and thinking.

"With any weight loss, you'd expect the results they found," said Lona Sandon, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "You'd expect better glucose, better insulin levels, and better C-reactive protein levels. C-reactive protein and high insulin levels are associated in other studies with high inflammation. You'd expect those metabolic changes with a small amount of weight loss."

- read the story from HealthDay

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