55 Chapel Street, Suite 202, Newton, Ma 02458
www.nesca-newton.com
617-658-9800

75 Gilcreast Road, Suite 305, Londonderry, NH 03053
603-818-8526

NEWS & NOTES

Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Animal Study: Link Between Diet and Learning Disabilities

From Smart Kids with LD

March 19, 2013

The debate about the impact of nutrition on learning disabilities heated up again recently with the publication of a new animal study that found a possible link between diets high in fats and certain types of learning disabilities and ADHD.

Quoted in an article in Medical News Today (MNT), researcher Gregory Freund explained the findings:

"We found that a high-fat diet rapidly affected dopamine metabolism in the brains of juvenile mice, triggering anxious behaviors and learning deficiencies. Interestingly, when methylphenidate (Ritalin) was administered, the learning and memory problems went away."

Freund is a professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a member of the school’s Division of Nutritional Sciences, which oversaw the study. The study is published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Freund’s team at the University of Illinois set out to compare the impact on mice of a diet high in fats (60% of calories from fat) with that of one that is low in fats (10% of calories from fats).

Said Freund, “After only one week of the high-fat diet, even before we were able to see any weight gain, the behavior of the mice in the first group began to change.”

The mice became increasingly anxious and developed learning and memory deficits. When they were switched to a low-fat diet, memory was restored in a week’s time.

Scientists know that animals adapt to their new conditions in time, with brain dopamine returning to normal. In this case the mice shed their anxious behavior and become obese and diabetic.

But, Freund noted, “the study suggests that a high-fat diet could trigger anxiety and memory disorders in a child who is genetically or environmentally susceptible to them.”

1 comment:

  1. Freund is a professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a member of the school’s Division of Nutritional Sciences, which oversaw the study.

    ReplyDelete