Thursday, October 2, 2014

How to Improve Your Memory

You can throw away all the memory-enhancing pills and supplements.

Science has discovered two sure-fire ways to improve your memory.

First: resistance training… that is, weight lifting.

Second: beer… that’s right, a brew.

For the first, via Melissa Dahl at New York Magazine:

Researchers from the University of Georgia Tech found that people who did a simple resistance exercise for just 20 minutes demonstrated stronger memory abilities than people who didn’t exercise. 

For the second, we turn to CBS Seattle:

A researcher at Oregon State Universtity points to a compound found in hops, one of the main ingredients beer, improved cognitive function in a group of mice.

The mice were given large doses of xanthohumol, a flavinoid found in hops. Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that often give them their color.

Then the mice were run through a special maze to determine whether they showed signs of improved spacial memory and cognitive flexibility.

“Xanthohumol can speed the metabolism, reduce fatty acids in the liver and, at least with young mice, appeared to improve their cognitive flexibility, or higher level thinking,” reported Daniel Zamzow, with the University of Wisconsin. “Unfortunately it did not reduce palmitoylation in older mice, or improve their learning or cognitive performance, at least in the amounts of the compound we gave them.”

In fairness, we underscore the fact that the hops in beer only do wonders in the brains of younger mice. They seem not to be as effective in older mice.

The researchers add the caveat that they did not test the older mice with larger amounts of beer.

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