Research Paper #2
June 17, 2013
Weight Loss and Memory The purpose of Pettersson’s research is to determine whether weight loss improves memory and alters brain activity in overweight women. The study was conducted on 20 overweight women, ages 61-65. Nine women were put on the Paleolithic diet and the other 11 women were placed on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations of a diet which was less protein and more carbohydrates. Both groups were on the diet for a total of 60 days. They measured the women’s BMI and body fat composition both before and after the diet. They also used a functional MRI to measure their episodic memory when memorizing pairs, otherwise known as encoding. Both of the groups had decreased their BMI by 3% and had lost an average of 17 pounds. After the 60 days, the subjects were retested and it had shown that memory performance had improved after weight loss. Brain activity had increased during memory encoding in the brain regions that are important for identification and matching, and had decreased in regions that are associated with retrieval of episodic memories. This indicates more efficient retrieval and fewer brain resources are needed to recollect stored information. This helps our understanding on the brains activity and one of the many negative effects obesity has on our body, not only externally but internally as well. This study has proved that weight loss positively affects memory and the retrieval of stored memories, but it does not explain why or how. What in the brain changes to become more active?
Memory and Fear Dr. Agren had performed a study to show whether it is possible to erase newly formed emotional memories from the human brain, such as fear. The study had two groups of subjects, an experimental group and a control group. Both groups were shown a neutral picture and simultaneously administered an electric shock. This had elicited fear in the subjects which meant a fear memory had been formed. For the experimental group the reconsolidation process was disrupted…