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Honey to help with memory in ageing?

14 October 2007  |  Admin

Lynne Chepulis and Nicola Starkey, researchers at the University of Waikato in New Zealand (the same university that has done much study into Manuka honey ) have done a study involving rats that suggests honey may help with memory.

Over twelve months they raised rats (who were two months old at the start) on diets of either 10% honey, 8% sucrose, or no sugar at all. Every three months of the trial the rats were assessed using test designed to measure anxiety and spatial memory.

It was found that the rats fed on the honey based diet spent almost twice as much time in the open sections of an assessment maze than sucrose-fed rats, suggesting they were less anxious. They were also were more likely to enter novel sections of a Y-shaped maze, suggesting they knew where they had been previously and had better spatial memory.

"Diets sweetened with honey may be beneficial in decreasing anxiety and improving memory during aging," says Starkey, and suggests the findings may be due to the antioxidant properties of honey, which have previously been demonstrated in humans. The research in this case received funding from Fonterra, the New Zealand dairy company interested in sweetening yogurt with honey.

The findings have been reported in the New Scientist, among other places. 

It should be remembered that this is early research so far, and more would need to be done before relying on the findings for human use.

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