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Avoiding Sugar Key to Ending to Senior Moments: Scientific American

April 8, 2009

The nature of senior moments led scientists to believe they stem from disruptions in the hippocampus—an area that, among other roles, acts as the brain’s “save” button, allowing us to retain new information. Using functional MRI, researchers looked at the effects of increased blood glucose in the hippocampus of 181 subjects aged 65 or older with no history of dementia. They found that elevated levels impaired function of a section of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus, which is a “hotspot” of age-related impairment, according to study author Scott Small, a neurologist at Columbia University.

Blood glucose is not alone in selectively affecting dentate gyrus performance. A 2007 study co-authored by Small shows that exercise improves its function in both mice and humans. The newer research, he points out, suggests that these positive effects may actually result from the influence of regular exercise on the body’s ability to break down glucos


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