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Skip breakfast, fare better in exams!

University found that the hunger hormone 'ghrelin' can increase the number of nerve connections in the area of the brain where new memories are formed, which may

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 13:00 IST

Next time you sit for your exams and want to fare better than the previous time, remember to skip your breakfast, as a new research suggests that hunger pangs may trigger memory.

American scientists at the Yale University found that the hunger hormone 'ghrelin' can increase the number of nerve connections in the area of the brain where new memories are formed, which may result in the better creation and retrieval of memories.

"The study provides evidence that ghrelin may control higher brain functions and may represent a molecular link between learning capabilities and energy metabolism," BBC quoted the researchers, as saying.

"The paper is pretty interesting and it is entirely plausible that we are more alert and keyed up to both remember and recall more readily when stressed by hunger. If we weren't our individual forbearers might have died out in the competition for food," they added.

According to Professor Stephen Bloom, an expert in appetite regulation at Imperial College London, "memory can be switched on and off, and often it is switched on at times of stress", as ghrelin is released by the empty stomach into the bloodstream, and is known to activate receptors throughout the brain.

The Yale team also discovered that hunger seems to impact on the functioning of a second area known as the hippocampus, which is known to be essential to learning.

Through their study, featured in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the researchers have also raised hopes of drugs to treat impaired learning and memory in diseases such as Alzheimer's, but it sees weight gain as a possible side effect.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 10:00 IST