Navigation Links
'Bad' Fat May Hurt Brain Function Over Time

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women who eat a lot of "bad" saturated fat may hurt their overall brain function and memory over time, Harvard University researchers report.

In contrast, eating more "good" monounsaturated fat improved brain function and memory, suggesting that fats may have the same effect on the brain as they do on the heart, the researchers added.

"Making changes and substitutions in one's diet to eat fewer saturated fats and consume more monounsaturated fats might be a way to help prevent cognitive decline in older people," said lead researcher Dr. Olivia Okereke, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "This is important because cognitive decline affects millions of older people. So, this is a promising area of research."

Just like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, this may be another modifiable factor in the fight against mental decline, Okereke added.

"Such modifiable factors are important because these are things that people can actually change and over which they can exert some individual control," she said.

The report was published in the May 18 online edition of the Annals of Neurology.

For the study, Okereke's team collected data on 6,000 women who took part in the U.S. Women's Health Study.

These women took three brain function tests every two years over an average span of four years.

In addition, they filled out detailed food questionnaires at the start of the study and before the brain tests.

The researchers found that over time, women who ate the highest amounts of saturated fat had the worst overall brain function and memory, compared to the women who ate the least.

Moreover, women who ate the most monounsaturated fats had higher scores on brain tests over the four years of testing, they note.

Saturated fat comes from animal fats such as red meat and butter, while monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil and other vegetable products.

In the study, the researchers accounted for many things that could influence the findings, including age, education, exercise, smoking, drinking, medication use and health conditions. This is done to ensure that the findings are not due to better health behaviors among certain women.

"We think it is unlikely that these findings regarding dietary fat would be primarily explained by a healthy lifestyle in those with more education," Okereke said.

Although this study was among women, "it would make sense that the basic underlying reasons for the findings we saw in women should also apply to men," she added.

Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., commented that "it appears that the effects of eating a lot of saturated fat and the foods associated with it, such as red and processed meats, cheese and butter, over time creates a cascade effect of ill health."

This study supports others that have found an association between saturated fats, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and an increased decline in brain function, she said.

"Saturated fat has been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, cancer and diabetes, and may increase fat storage in your abdomen -- commonly referred to as 'ab flab,'" Heller said.

"Ab flab in and of itself increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease," she said.

The evidence is stacking up against consuming saturated fat regularly, Heller said.

"To lower your intake of saturated fat, choose low or nonfat dairy foods such as fat-free milk and yogurt. Stick with skinless poultry and fish. Limit red and processed meats such as beef, pork, lamb, hot dogs or bologna, to a few times a month. Experiment with meatless meals such as veggie burgers, spinach-eggplant lasagna, or black bean, corn and avocado tacos," she advised.

More information

For more information on a healthful diet, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

SOURCES: Olivia Okereke, M.D., assistant professor, psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator, Center for Cancer Care, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; May 18, 2012, Annals of Neurology, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Bile - not acid - is bad guy in triggering precancerous condition associated with reflux disease
2. Being Ignored Feels Just as Bad Online
3. Tracking proteins behaving badly provides insights for treatments of brain diseases
4. How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they dont
5. URMC finds leukemia cells are bad to the bone
6. Narcissism Especially Bad for Mens Health, Study Says
7. Is transparency bad for science?
8. Fatherhood can help change a mans bad habits
9. Commuting - bad for your health?
10. Sleepy Teens Prone to Bad Behaviors, Study Finds
11. Bad Body Odor May Be Caused by Metabolic Disorder
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
'Bad' Fat May Hurt Brain Function Over Time
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 2015 , ... CloudLIMS today announced that it is the ... the New Products and Services category for its innovative product offering, BioTracer. ... that helps labs organize data and track samples with storage inventories. BioTracer's SaaS ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... must mark the film for accurate interpretation by the radiologist. The marking utensils ... inventor from Sacramento, Calif., has found a way to alleviate this problem. , ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 2015 , ... McLean, VA., December 1, 2015 - Octo ... sprint agile development contract to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) IT Services ... engineering, infrastructure, as well as operations and sustainment support to the NGA’s Agile ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... GA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... supports SACC-GA and SACC-USA through membership and leadership since 2008. Gary ... Chair for SACC-USA . Gary has spent a significant amount of time ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... Enterprise Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) status from Cisco. This designation recognizes Tympani as ... Cisco Unified Contact Center solutions targeted to the high-end enterprise contact center marketplace. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Russia has always been a country ... drugs registered in Europe in 2015 were tested ... Russia has always been a country of choice for ... Europe in 2015 were tested in phase II-III ... has always been a country of choice for global multi-center ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 01, 2015 ... "Veterinary Equipment and Disposables Market by product, ... report to their offering. --> ... "Veterinary Equipment and Disposables Market by product, by ... to their offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , December 1, 2015 ... Contraceptive Injectables, Topical Contraceptives, Male Condoms, Female ... Vaginal Rings, Contraceptive Diaphragms, Contraceptive Sponges, Non-Surgical ... Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 ... Transparency Market Research (TMR).The report states that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: