Study: Some fats may improve memory

April 29, 2009 3:35:01 PM PDT
There is good news for people who love fatty foods. A new study shows certain dietary fats can have healthy benefits, specifically for memory retention.Researchers say eating fatty foods that contain oleic acids actually triggers a compound that helps to control appetitte and might be involved in memory building.

"So that's why you remember those high-fat foods so well," says dietician Tara Harwood, with the Cleveland Clinic. But these acids aren't necessarily in the rich desserts that people love.

The fat the researchers looked at is the so called "good" fat, the kind found in some oils---like olive and soybean. A study at the University of California found eating these oils triggers memory retention in rodents.

Researchers Daniele Piomelli and James McGaugh published their study this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oils, particularly good oils, contain oleic acid. The small intestine transforms the acid into a compound called oleoylethanolamide, or oea. The study found oea improves memory.

When rodents got oea, they showed better memory retention in two different tests. They remembered tasks better after a fatty meal.

Food high in oleic acid, which trigger oea in the body, might someday be the kind every student wants before taking a test, and the kind that will benefit anyone who is memory impaired. But that is yet to come.

It bears keeping in mind, however, that this was a study on rodents and is still not proven. The next step is to test humans and to prove that good fats do indeed work to improve memory.

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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