The risk of premature memory loss in elderly people, who are 70 years old or more, may be increased if their daily diet contains from 2,100 to 6,000 calories. The shortage of memory can be the first sign of incipient Alzheimer’s disease.
American scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale have collected the data about more than 1,200 elderly people aged between 70 and 89 years. According to the diagnosis, 163 of them had memory deficiency, known as “mild cognitive impairment”. The eating habits of the participants of the research were studied especially for the experiment. One-third reported that their caloric daily intake was from 600 to a thousand and a half calories, another group consumed from one and a half to two thousand calories, and finally, the last group consumed up to 6000 calories a day. It is among those, who ate the most, that cases of violations of memory were the most frequent. The findings of the scientists remained unchanged, when the data on food habits and caloric intake were complemented by the data on the facts of diabetes, stroke, educational level of the participants, their body mass index, obesity and other risk factors that affected memory loss.
It is not clear why overeating affects memory, but excessive intake of calories can lead to oxidative damage, triggering structural changes in the brain, as the lead researcher, Dr. Yonas Geda, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, believes. At least, this study will contribute to the debate among scientists about the possible mechanisms of cognitive impairment and disease prevention by restricting calorie intake.