Junk-Food-Heavy Diets Impair Cognitive Function After One Week

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How many patties were on this again?

In a study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, University of New South Wales researchers describe how lab rats rapidly began to show signs of serious memory decline after just six days on a sugar- and fat-laden diet of cakes, chips, and more. Specifically, the junk-food-eating rats had inflamed hippocampal regions, and they did poorly on spatial-memory tests long before they started gaining weight. "We were surprised at how fast it was," co-author Margaret Morris tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "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 notes elsewhere. Researchers posit that short-term improvements in diet may help elderly people, for example, improve cognitive function and memory. [ABC]