Mark Mattson is the Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, and one of the foremost researchers in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mark and his team have published several papers that discuss how fasting twice a week could significantly lower the risk of developing both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. When you take a look at caloric restriction studies, many of them show a prolonged lifespan as well as an increased ability to fight chronic disease.
It’s interesting because fasting and caloric restriction has been shown to grow new stem cells, repair DNA, extend life span and retard age related disease and a much more, it’s even been shown to be effective as a cancer treatment in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs. Unfortunately, you will never see a clinical trial conducted without testing a pharmaceutical drug, it’s not like one can make money off of fasting alone, or from an herb that cannot be patented.
Below is a wonderful TEDx talk given by Mark going into more detail about what fasting does to the brain. For more links to published studies about fasting, you can read this article, but a simple google search would suffice if you are looking for more publications.