Reducing calorie intake could help slow aging and deter chronic disease in mammals, a new study shows.
The study, conducted on female mice by neuroscientists ant the NYU Langone Medical Center, suggests that restricting diets affects hundreds of genes linked to aging and memory formation. Cutting back on food by 30 percent virtually stopped the expression of those genes, the researchers said.
Previous studies found a dietary impacts on one or two genes, while this study analyzed the impact on more than 10,000, said professor Stephen D. Ginsberg, who was senior study investigator.
Ginsberg, in a written statement, cautioned that calorie restriction was not “the fountain of youth” but did “add evidence for the role of diet in delaying the effects of aging and aging-related disease.”
For the study, researchers fed female mice – which are more prone to dementia than males – 30 percent fewer calories from a carbohydrate diet than those fed to other mice.
The scientists then analyzed tissue from the animals’ hippocampal region, which is critical to memory and the part of the brain first affected by Alzheimer’s tissue. They found that longterm calorie restriction suppressed the age-dependent activity of 882 genes in the hippocampal region.
The researchers said the “mosaic of molecular changes” responsible for the protective properties was not yet understood.
The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in at Washington, D.C.’s convention center.