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Even A Short Term Diet Of Junk Food Can Permanently Damage Memory

Update Date: Dec 20, 2013 09:51 AM EST

Ill effects of junk food on waistline is a very well known fact, but a new study has pointed that it can permanently damage your memory too.

Researchers in Australia found that even a short term diet, (i.e a week) can leave a dangerous effect on the brain’s cognitive ability. The real reason was obesity which can trigger rapid changes in the brain.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) performed their tests on rats by feeding them a diet rich in fat and sugar. Within just a week, it impaired their memory.

Animals also found it more difficult to recognize specific places once they consumed their junk food. Subsequently they also lost the ability to notice when an object shifted to a new location.

An inflammation of the hippocampal region of the brain was also noted in the mice which is directly associated with spatial memory.

“We know that obesity causes inflammation in the body, but we didn’t realize until recently that it also causes changes in the brain,” said Professor Margaret Morris from UNSW Medicine according to Daily Mail, who also co-authored the study.

“What is so surprising about this research is the speed with which the deterioration of the cognition occurred. Our preliminary data also suggests that the damage is not reversed when the rats are switched back to a healthy diet, which is very concerning,” she added.

The research attempts to find ways to stop the inflammation in the brain of animals with the healthy diet. This could also unlock secrets relating to human those who consume more junk.

“We suspect that these findings may be relevant to people,” said Professor Morris in Daily Mail. “While nutrition affects the brain at every age, it is critical as we get older and may be important in preventing cognitive decline. An elderly person with poor diet may be more likely to have problems.”

The study is published in the journal Brain.

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