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Fatty food may damage cognitive function: Study

by Vaishali Sharma
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According to an international study lead by UniSA neuroscientists Professor Xin-Fu Zhou and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya, eating fatty food may not only expand the waistline but also harm cognitive performance.

The study’s findings were published in the journal ‘Metabolic Brain Disease.’ The researchers found a strong correlation between rats fed a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, resulting in diabetes, and a later decline in cognitive capacities, including anxiety, depression, and progressive Alzheimer’s disease.

Mice with reduced cognitive function were also more prone to acquire weight due to poor metabolism brought on by brain abnormalities.

The findings were reported in Metabolic Brain Disease by researchers from Australia and China. Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya of the University of South Australia said the study adds to the growing body of data linking chronic obesity and diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to reach 100 million cases by 2050.

“Obesity and diabetes impair the central nervous system, exacerbating psychiatric disorders and cognitive decline. We demonstrated this in our study with mice,” Bobrovskaya said.

Mice were randomly assigned to either a conventional diet or a high-fat diet for 30 weeks beginning at the age of eight weeks. Food consumption, body weight, and glucose levels were all measured at various intervals, as were glucose and insulin tolerance tests, as well as cognitive impairment.

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When compared to mice on a typical diet, those on the high-fat diet acquired a lot of weight, developed insulin resistance, and began behaving erratically.

While given a high-fat diet, genetically engineered Alzheimer’s disease mice exhibited considerable decline in cognition and pathological alterations in the brain.

Fatty foods may lead to depression

“Obese individuals have about a 55 per cent increased risk of developing depression, and diabetes will double that risk,” Bobrovskaya said.

“Our findings underline the importance of addressing the global obesity epidemic. A combination of obesity, age and diabetes are very likely to lead to a decline in cognitive abilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health disorders.”

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