"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fat and Forgetful 

No wonder fat people are so jolly; they have impaired memory! This is the claim of new research into our old friend Leptin and its function in the brain. As a body hormone, Leptin increases metabolism and decreases fat storage, but in the brain it seems to enhance long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, a process key to memory formation and retention.

This isn't the first time a food-related hormone turned out to be a major player in the brain: Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a gastrointestinal hormone, involved in food intake and satiety, that also turned out to be an excitatory neurotransmitter, implicated in systems including anxiety, memory, and perhaps schizophrenia.

This 'brain-gut' connection has always been fascinating to me. Without too much of a stretch, you can see how the brain is really just a means towards advancing the gut's ends. However, I cannot wait until Leptin comes out in pill form, so I can have a better memory and never hear about the bloody South Beach Diet ever again!

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