What we eat could impact our brain and memory

High levels of a satiety hormone could decrease a person's likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease. For individuals who have higher levels of the hormone, their chance of having mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease decreased by 65 percent.



A team of researchers in Iowa State University's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition discovered a satiety hormone that, at higher levels, could decrease a person's likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.


Using data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), the researchers looked at the satiety hormone, Cholecystokinin (CCK), in 287 people. CCK is found in both the small intestines and the brain. In the small intestines, CCK allows for the absorption of fats and proteins. In the brain, CCK is located in the hippocampus, which is the memory-forming region of the brain.


The researchers found for individuals who have higher CCK levels, their chance of having mild cognitive impairment, a precursor state to Alzheimer's disease, or Alzheimer's disease decreased by 65 percent.

They chose to focus on CCK because it is highly expressed in memory formation. The researchers wanted to see if there was any significance between levels of CCK and levels of memory and gray matter in the hippocampus and other important areas.


They also looked p-tau and tau proteins, which are thought to be toxic to the brain, to see how these might impact CCK and memory. They found that as tau levels increased, higher CCK was no longer related to less memory decline.


The researchers hope this study will encourage others to look into the nutritional aspect of diets, versus just looking at caloric intake. They are already looking at how diet impacts an individual's CCK levels through researching fasting glucose and ketone bodies.


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