Late night eating affects memory

Late night eating affects memory

It is well known that late night eating can cause weight gain and should be avoided. New research from the University of California, Los Angeles shows that late night eating affects memory.

Eating at times that are normally reserved for sleep causes a deficiency in learning and memory controlled by the hippocampus.

Researchers were interested in the brain effects of late night eating, as it is already known to affect other areas of health like metabolism.

We have provided the first evidence that taking regular meals at the wrong time of day has far-reaching effects for learning and memory,” says lead author Dawn Loh from the UCLA Laboratory of Circadian and Sleep Medicine. “Since many people find themselves working or playing during times when they’d normally be asleep, it is important to know that this could dull some of the functions of the brain.”

The team ran tests with mice by testing their ability to recognize a new object. Mice fed during their sleep time were less able to identify the object with a significant margin.

The researchers explained that the findings have not been confirmed in humans, but also said that shift workers have been shown to perform cognitive tasks less proficiently.

Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how the timing of food can impact cogitation” says Professor Christopher Colwell from the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA.

For the first time, we have shown that simply adjusting the time when food is made available alters the molecular clock in the hippocampus and can alter the cognitive performance of mice.”

The study showing that late night eating affects memory was published in eLIFE.

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1. “Midnight Munchies Mangle Memory.” EurekAlert! ELIFE, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2016.
2. “Misaligned Feeding Impairs Memories.” ELife. ELife, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2016.

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