January 27/London/The Express-- Eating fewer calories could improve memory -- and may even help stave off dementia.

Researchers believe a low-calorie diet decreases insulin levels and reduces inflammation in the body, leading to better nerve function. Trials were carried out at the University of Munster in Germany on 50 adults aged 50-80.

Researcher Agnes Floel said, "We found a significant increase in verbal memory scores after caloric restriction."

The Alzheimer's Research Trust said, "This intriguing piece of research adds to the picture of how diet can affect memory."

Memory loss can be an early sign of dementia. The study seems to contradict a previously held belief that a Mediterranean diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids can improve brain power.

An estimated 24million people worldwide have the memory loss, problems with orientation and other symptoms that signal Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

From the February 2, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition