Are midnight meals bad for memory?

From the results of a study on mice, it was found that when they eat at a time when they should be sleeping, their ability to remember about objects they have seen is weakened.< /p>

This abnormality was observed even when the amount of sleep in the rodents was the same as in mice that ate and slept normally.

Co-author of the study Christopher Colwell, from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, and the team of scientists acclimatized the mice to a normal sleep pattern by making them sleep during the day. Mice are nocturnal animals, so they are normally active at night and sleep during the day.

After that, the scientists divided the mice into two groups, the rodents from one group fed only during the part of the day in which they were supposed to sleep, that is, during the day. And the mice from the other group were fed, when they are usually active, that is, before night.

Rodents with an altered feeding schedule were also with altered sleep time. However, they got the same amount of sleep, were fed the same food, and had the same weight as the mice in the second group, who had a normal daily routine.

The researchers then tested the mice’s memory abilities by conducting an experiment where they placed the rodents in a box with two different objects and let them learn about them. They conducted the same experiment with the other group with a normal diet .

After some time, the scientists returned the mice to the box again, in which they put one familiar object /which the mice had already seen in the previous experiment/ and a new one and measured how long the rodents spent getting to know each one .

Compared to mice on a normal diet, those with the changes showed significant memory loss.

Animals with altered diurnal including feeding and sleeping spent more time learning about a familiar object, suggesting that the mice did not remember seeing it before.

In the second experiment, the scientists adapted the two groups of mice to feel fear when they were in a certain place. They later released the rodents back to that location to observe if they showed signs of fear.

The conditioned mice had almost no fear when they were in the place they were conditioned to fear.

This suggests that improper eating and sleeping patterns affect the animals’ memory, even in terms of fear.

The study authors found that mice fed when they should be sleeping absorbed information more slowly than mice that ate normally.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Scientific Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC.

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