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Does food affect memory? New research by Polish scientists

Does food affect memory? New research by Polish scientists

Image source: © canva
Weronika Paliczka,
08.01.2024 15:45

Polish scientists are researching the impact of nutrition on memory, which could lead to groundbreaking conclusions.

Doctors and scientists have been studying the impact of nutrition on various aspects of life for years. This time, scientists from SWPS University are looking into the effect of diet on an individual's memory. It's been discovered that the proper diet affects weight and other areas of the body.

Healthy diet means better memory?

Professor Aneta Brzezicka, PhD, from SWPS University, is leading research that compares the memory of individuals who consume a balanced diet versus those who regularly visit fast food restaurants. The study involves the utilisation of a cap fitted with electrodes, which is a commonly used tool to conduct EEG testing. This tool enables the assessment of the impact of diet on memory.

"What mainly suffers in the brain during such an unhealthy diet is a structure that is called the hippocampus. It is responsible, among other things, for encoding information," - explains Prof Aneta Brzezicka in an interview with Interia.

During patient examinations, there are several steps involved. Firstly, the patient is required to complete a questionnaire in which they describe their diet. Following this, an EEG cap is placed on the patient's head, and they are presented with images and information to remember. The machine then produces a digital recording of the patient's brainwaves, which can be used to assess their memory fitness.

What affects memory fitness?

The researchers have found that memory is directly influenced by the gastrointestinal tract’s macro and microflora. According to Prof Brzezicka, "We observed that those women who had more species inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract performed better on memory tasks." The study showed that avoiding sugars and saturated fats improves memory, while overuse of these types of food translates into poorer cognitive performance.

The researchers hope to isolate bacteria that positively affect memory and explore the potential of administering a probiotic with pro-inflammatory properties to improve memory. "Microorganisms may contribute directly to the treatment of memory-related conditions," says Maria Kosowska, a doctoral student at the SWPS Centre for Neurocognitive Research at SWPS University in Warsaw and a researcher involved in the study.

Anyone can take part

The survey is available to individuals who are 19 or older and reside in or near Warsaw. The SWPS University website is presently seeking participants for the study. Participating in the survey provides advantages not only for researchers but also for the participants. Dr Aneta Brzezicka, a professor at SWPS, encourages participation by stating, "By taking part in the study, you will receive an evaluation of your dietary habits and personalised recommendations on how to make dietary changes to promote the health of your gut microbiota. Additionally, there will be a prize draw for financial rewards in vouchers for use at popular stores. Participation in the second stage will also be compensated financially with vouchers for popular chain stores."

Source: Interia, SWPS

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