Monday, 6 September 2010

Brain imaging of the rat

On the third day, I organized a morning symposium (starting from 8:30, sigh...) with Dr. Keiji Wada at National Institute of Neuroscience. The theme of this session was "Nutrition and Neuroscience". I talked about fatty acid signals in neurogenesis, production of new neurons in the brain. DHA and arachidonic acid have differential effects on maintenance and differentiation of neural stem cells.

Dr. Wada's work was interesting in regard with mother-pup's relationship (bio-communication, he says). Mother's nutrient conditions have much influence on pups. For example, fatty diet (e.g., corresponding to 6-8 hamburgers per day) of the mothers before and during pregnancy plus during weaning results in impaired cognitive functions of the pups.

What I found most interesting was the data of rat brain imaging at intake of alcohol, corn oil, glucose, and glutamate (because the work was done by a researcher belonging to the institute of Ajinomoto Company). Alcohol reduced overall brain activity, and glucose immediately activate the brain! So, it seems quite reasonable to take candy or chocolate when we feel tired at the level of mind and to boost up our brain.

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