Via the Guardian: "Fasting for regular periods could help protect the brain against degenerative illnesses ... Researchers [had] found evidence which shows that periods of stopping virtually all food intake for one or two days a week could protect the brain against some of the worst effects of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other ailments. ... Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want. In other words, timing appears to be a crucial element to this process. ... have also worked out a specific mechanism by which the growth of neurons in the brain could be affected by reduced energy intakes. Amounts of two cellular messaging chemicals are boosted when calorie intake is sharply reduced. ... These chemical messengers play an important role in boosting the growth of neurons in the brain, a process that would counteract the impact of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. ... The cells of the brain are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effects of exercise on muscle cells. The overall effect is beneficial. ... The link between reductions in energy intake and the boosting of cell growth in the brain might seem an unlikely one, but [there are] sound evolutionary reasons for believing it to be the case. ... When resources became scarce, our ancestors would have had to scrounge for food. Those whose brains responded best - who remembered where promising sources could be found or recalled how to avoid predators - would have been the ones who got the food. Thus a mechanism linking periods of starvation to neural growth would have evolved." You might recall that intermittent fasting and straight calorie restriction depend on different sets of genes in mice, suggesting that they are not working to enhance health in the same ways - this latest research tends to reinforce that view.