Once a month I conduct a 5 hour training. That’s 5 hours on my feet explaining our complicated HRIS (that would be the computers that store all your HR data).

The class starts at 12:00, but a free lunch is included. I’m all for free and I’m always in favor of lunch. However, I rarely eat more than a half a sandwich, or a cup of fruit. I always felt like I could train better when my stomach was empty. So I felt rather vindicated when I read this:

According to a fascinating article in the March, 2006 issue of Nature Neuroscience, the stimulation of hunger causes mice to process information more quickly and to retain it better – in general, making them smarter. According to the researchers, humans almost certainly experience the same connection between hunger and peak brain function.

This makes intuitive sense–at least part of it. You don’t sit around after Thanksgiving dinner and solve differential equations. Being slightly hungry can increase performance. So, no more huge meals at meetings.

In order to read the original article you need to pay for the Journal Nature Neuroscience. In case you think you might want to, here is the link. Just a warning, though. Here’s the text of the abstract:

The gut hormone and neuropeptide ghrelin affects energy balance and growth hormone release through hypothalamic action that involves synaptic plasticity in the melanocortin system. Ghrelin binding is also present in other brain areas, including the telencephalon, where its function remains elusive. Here we report that circulating ghrelin enters the hippocampus and binds to neurons of the hippocampal formation, where it promotes dendritic spine synapse formation and generation of long-term potentiation. These ghrelin-induced synaptic changes are paralleled by enhanced spatial learning and memory. Targeted disruption of the gene that encodes ghrelin resulted in decreased numbers of spine synapses in the CA1 region and impaired performance of mice in behavioral memory testing, both of which were rapidly reversed by ghrelin administration. Our observations reveal an endogenous function of ghrelin that links metabolic control with higher brain functions and suggest novel therapeutic strategies to enhance learning and memory processes.

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3 thoughts on “Hungry? Good.

  1. Not that I was tempted to go and pay for the journal but the abstract definetly would have disuaded me had I become inspired 🙂

  2. There is no way I would pay money to read that. There is a reason why I majored in political science in college instead of some real science. Yikes.

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