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High-fat diet causes Alzheimer’s and anxiety!

New research shows that fatty foods can not only widen your waistline but also aggravate Alzheimer’s disease, causing depression and anxiety.

An international study led by UniSA neuroscientists Professor Xin-Fu Zhou and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya found a clear link between mice fed a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, causing diabetes, and then impaired cognitive abilities, including developing anxiety.

Mice with impaired cognitive function were more likely to gain excess weight due to poor metabolism caused by the brain changes.

UniSA neuroscientist and biochemist Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya says the research adds to the growing evidence linking it with chronic obesity and Alzheimer’s disease, which is estimated to reach 100 million cases by 2050.

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

In the study, mice were randomly assigned to either a standard diet or a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, starting at eight weeks of age. Food intake, body weight and glucose levels were monitored at different intervals along with glucose and insulin tolerance tests and cognitive dysfunction.

Mice fed the high-fat diet gained a lot of weight, developed insulin resistance, and began to behave abnormally compared to those fed a standard diet.

Mice with the genetically modified disease showed significant cognitive impairment and pathological changes in their brains when fed the high-fat diet.

Assoc. Dr. “Obese individuals have an increased risk of developing depression by about 55 percent, and diabetes doubles that risk,” Bobrovskaya says.

“Our findings underscore the importance of tackling the global obesity epidemic. The combination of obesity, age, and diabetes is very likely to lead to declines in cognitive abilities, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental health disorders.”

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