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Is there a link between childhood obesity and ADHD, learning disabilities?
Date:2/19/2013

t to a low-fat diet restored memory in one week, he noted.

In mice that continued on the high-fat diet, impaired object recognition remained three weeks after the onset of symptoms. But Freund knows from other studies that brain biochemistry normalizes after 10 weeks as the body appears to compensate for the diet. At that point, brain dopamine has returned to normal, and mice have become obese and developed diabetes.

"Although the mice grow out of these anxious behaviors and learning deficiencies, the study suggests to me that a high-fat diet could trigger anxiety and memory disorders in a child who is genetically or environmentally susceptible to them," he said.

Because the animals adapt to the high-fat fare, the scientists also hypothesized that abruptly removing fat from the diet might negatively affect anxiety, learning, and memory.

The researchers had expected that the high-fat diet would stimulate inflammation, which is associated with obesity, but they saw no evidence of an inflammatory response in the brain after one or three weeks on the high-fat regimen.

Instead, they saw evidence that a high-fat diet initiates chemical responses that are similar to the ones seen in addiction, with dopamine, the chemical important to the addict's pleasurable experiences, increasing in the brain.


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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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