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Memory boosting protein

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 30, 2011 00:53 IST

Hindustan Times
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Memory boosting protein

Finally, a cure for forgetfulness is in sight. Studies in rats showed that a protein-like molecule that occurs naturally in the human brain during memory formation enhanced some types of memories, reports a study in the journal Nature.

The study showed improvement in an area of memory known as declarative memory-the ability to remember places, facts and things. Declarative memory is affected in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and researchers have long sought ways to improve or preserve it.

It is too early to say whether the protein-called IGF-II-will be useful in humans, but the substance holds promise because it can cross the blood-brain barrier. This makes it possible for it to be administered through the bloodstream or as a vapour through the nose.

Olive oil kills depression

Eating processed foods including trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of depression. Olive oil, on the other hand, protects against this mental illness, found a US study of 12,059 people over six years.

People who ate food high in trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced fast food and naturally present in some whole milk products) had a 48% increase in the risk of depression than those who had a healthy diet. Trans-fats also raise risk of heart disease and stroke.

Obesity ups risk at childbirth

Women who are overweight or obese before they conceived are likely to have a longer pregnancy, need to have labour induced artificially and go on to require caesarean section births.

Records of almost 30,000 women who gave birth over four years in the UK showed that three in 10 obese women were overdue — still pregnant ten days after their due date — compared with around two in 10 women with healthy weight.

More than a third of obese women had their labour induced, compared with just over a quarter of normal weight women, report researchers from Liverpool in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Other studies also have found that maternal obesity is one of the biggest risks in childbirth among the affluent.