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Study: Cinnamon leads to better learning success in mice
Cinnamon is usually an aromatic spice that is often added to foods to improve taste. Researchers have now found that taking this spice can help with learning. Cinnamon is actually able to improve learning ability. So maybe a little cinnamon could help many students who have problems learning at school.
Surely you know cinnamon as a spice that refines many dishes. But cinnamon can do much more. Rush University scientists now said in a press release that they found in an investigation that taking cinnamon improves learning ability. The American doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology".
Feeding with cinnamon leads to an improved learning ability in mice
When we examined laboratory mice, we found that cinnamon feeding leads to improved learning ability, says lead researcher Professor Kalipada Pahan from Rush University. Perhaps this knowledge can be used in the future to better help people with learning difficulties. Too much cinnamon can also have negative consequences for our body. For some time there was a trend among young people to consume as much cinnamon as possible. Even a boy fell into a coma through so-called cinnamon spoons.
Understand mechanisms behind poorer learning ability
Learning is not a problem for some people. They seem to absorb the knowledge like a sponge. Other people have bigger problems. They are difficult to learn new knowledge and have difficulty remembering facts. So it is important to understand the mechanisms that lead to poorer learning ability, the authors say. This is the only way to develop more effective strategies for improving memory and learning ability, adds Professor Pahan.
How does cinnamon affect the hippocampus?
The key to this understanding lies in the hippocampus. This small part of the brain generates, organizes and stores memories, the scientists explain. People with learning difficulties have lower levels of the CREB protein in the hippocampus. CREB supports our brain in learning new knowledge. However, such people have more of the GABRA5 protein. This inhibits the ability to learn in our brain, the researchers add.
Cinnamon is converted to sodium benzoate
The test mice in the study received oral feeds with ground cinnamon. The body of the animals converted the cinnamon into so-called sodium benzoate through metabolism, the researchers explain. This chemical is also used as a medication to treat brain damage. The sodium benzoate increased the CREB value in the animal's brain and the GABBRA5 was reduced. In addition, the plasticity (ability to change) of neurons in the hippocampus was stimulated. These changes in turn led to improved memory and more effective learning among mice, the study authors explain.
Cinnamon can reverse various changes in the brain of mice
We were able to use cinnamon in our research to reverse biochemical, cellular, and anatomical changes in the mouse brain, says Professor Pahan. The researchers used a so-called “Barnes Labyrinth” to identify mice with good or poor learning ability. The mice were allowed to train in the labyrinth for two days to find a specific target hole, the researchers say. The labyrinth had a total of twenty of these holes. After a month of cinnamon feeding, the mice were tested again. Taking cinnamon improved the learning and memory of animals that previously had problems with it. However, the researchers added that mice that had a good memory before and could easily learn new knowledge did not benefit from any significant improvement in their ability to learn.
Cinnamon might also help people with Parkinson's disease at some point
Some time ago, Professor Pahan and his team had discovered that cinnamon can reverse changes in the brain of mice with Parkinson's disease. So cinnamon doesn't just seem to be a tasty spice, it also has some interesting medicinal properties. For example, cinnamon is beneficial for the intestine due to its antibacterial mode of action. (as)