Swedish researchers working with older, overweight women, found that these subjects boasted improved memory after losing weight. Poor memory has been associated with obesity before, but this study shows that improving episodic memory might be possible.
In a study conducted by Andreas Pettersson, a medical doctor and current PhD student at Umea University, twenty overweight women with an average age of 61 were assigned to a six-month diet. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) for the women fell from 32.1 to 29.2, just below the line that designates obesity, as their weight dropped from an average of 188.9 pounds to 171.3 pounds.
Before and after their diet, the women were tested about names and faces they were instructed to memorize. After losing weight, the women's performance improved and brain scans revealed that their brains became better at storing and recalling memories.
Pettersson noted at an Endocrine Society meeting in San Francisco:
"The altered brain activity after weight loss suggests that the brain becomes more active while storing new memories and therefore needs fewer brain resources to recollect stored information."