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Banish Bad Memories
If you’re looking for another reason to hit the treadmill, read on—and clip this story in case you forget. Experts have known for years that diabetes can lead to memory loss, but a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition, can cause forgetfulness, too.
People with this condition, which can be brought on by excess weight and lack of exercise, have trouble processing glucose. Most people don’t even know they have it, and experts think millions of Americans may be affected.
In the study, a researcher gave 30 men and women a few memory tests, then injected them with glucose (about two doughnuts’ worth). He then took blood samples to measure how fast the glucose was cleared from the blood. Those whose glucose processing was sluggish demonstrated poor short-term memory—and brain scans indicated that their hippo-campuses, a key part of the brain responsible for short term memory, were actually smaller.
The results could have huge implications for baby boomers worried about becoming forgetful as they age. “Many people who are overweight don’t care and don’t exercise, but those same people are alarmed at the prospect of losing their cognitive function,” says Antonio Convit, a psychiatrist at the New York University School of Medicine who led the study. “The beauty of this study is that it offers motivation to do something about it.”
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