The impact of mastication on cognition: evidence for intervention and the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis April 2016
No chewing because of swallowing problems? I bet chewing gum would work,
Summary: Researchers find changes in masticatory stimuli can modulate neurogenesis and hippocampal function. Published in the Journal of Dental Research, findings reveal reduced mastication impaired learning and memory function in mice.
Source: Tokyo Medical and Dental University
According to researchers, the frequency of mastication has dramatically decreased along with changes in dietary habits. Masticatory stimulation has influence on the development of the central nervous system as well as the growth of maxillofacial tissue in children. Deterioration of masticatory function due to aging and the consequent reduction of brain function has become major problems. Although the relationship between mastication and brain function is potentially important, the mechanism underlying is not fully understood.
In order to prevent brain function disorders, including those relating to memory and learning, it is an urgent task to elucidate the linkage between masticatory function and brain function.
Researchers found that growth of the maxillofacial bone and muscle were suppressed in mice with reduced masticatory stimuli by feeding with powder food. In addition, behavioral experiments revealed that reduced mastication impaired memory and learning functions. In the hippocampus, a major component responsible for memory, neural activity, synapse formation and expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were reduced in these mice .
Thus, the authors demonstrated that the changes in masticatory stimuli can modulate neurogenesis and neuronal activity in the hippocampus, functionally contributing to cognitive function.
This research suggests that maintaining or strengthening of masticatory function would be effective in preventing dementia and memory/learning dysfunction. It is also suggested that further elucidation of the mechanism linking mastication and brain function can lead to novel treatments and preventive measures for memory/learning dysfunction in the future.
Source: Takashi Ono – Tokyo Medical and Dental University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Department of Cell Signaling,Department of Orthodontic Science (TMDU).
Original Reserch: Abstract for “Reduced Mastication Impairs Memory Function” by Y. Fukushima-Nakayama, Takehito Ono, M. Hayashi, M. Inoue, H. Wake, Takashi Ono, and T. Nakashima in Journal of Dental Research. Published online June 16 doi:10.1177/0022034517708771