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Calorie, Carb Restriction Stalls Brain Aging

Update Date: Nov 17, 2014 05:56 PM EST

Banishing bread and consuming fewer calories may increase lifespan by improving genetic performance, according to scientists.

Researchers found that reducing the number of calories consumed can stop the normal rise and fall in activity in levels of up to 900 different genes responsible for aging and memory formation.

New findings revealed that food restriction, particularly carbohydrates, could help improve the function of significantly more genes than previously believed.

Many animal studies show that dietary restriction helps boost longevity in a range of species. However, the mechanism behind this benefit has baffled scientists.

"Our study shows how calorie restriction practically arrests gene expression levels involved in the ageing phenotype - how some genes determine the behavior of mice, people, and other mammals as they get old," said lead researcher Dr. Stephen Ginsberg, a neuroscientist at New York University's Langone Medical Center, according to Business Insider.

While the latest findings "add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of ageing and age-related disease," Ginsberg noted that it does not mean that calorie restriction is the secret to everlasting youth, according to the Daily Mail.

Previous studies on diet restriction shows that it can reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension and stroke. However, researchers noted that there hasn't been much research on how calorie restriction influences genes on memory and learning in aging brains.

Ginsberg believes his study is dramatically more informative than previous studies as it has accounted for more than 10,000 genes. His study involved female mice that were fed food pellets that had 30 percent fewer calories than those fed to other mice. Ginsberg and his team then conducted tissue analyses on the hippocampal region of the brain to examine differences in gene expression.

The latest findings were presented to the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington.

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