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Study: Too much junk food can shrink your brain

Scientists established a clear link between a fatty food diet leading to diabetes and a deterioration in cognitive abilities.

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fast food and unhealthy eating concept - close up of hamburger or cheeseburger, deep-fried squid rings, french fries, pizza and ketchup on wooden table top view
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By Jim Leffman via SWNS

Junk food doesn't just make you fat, it also shrinks your brain, a new study has revealed.

Scientists have established a clear link between a fatty food diet leading to diabetes and a deterioration in cognitive abilities as well as anxiety and depression.

It also worsens any existing Alzheimer's disease.

The Australian team say their research provides more evidence for the link between obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer's.

Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya from the University of South Australia said: "Obesity and diabetes impair the central nervous system, exacerbating psychiatric disorders and cognitive decline.

"We demonstrated this in our findings."

In their study, published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease, mice were randomly allocated to a standard diet or a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, starting at eight weeks of age.

Food intake, body weight and glucose levels were monitored at different intervals, along with glucose and insulin tolerance tests and cognitive dysfunction.

The mice on the high-fat diet gained a lot of weight, developed insulin resistance and started behaving abnormally compared to those fed a standard diet.

Genetically modified Alzheimer’s disease mice showed a significant deterioration of cognition and pathological changes in the brain while fed the high fat diet.

Mice with impaired cognitive function were also more likely to gain excessive weight due to poor metabolism caused by brain changes.

Alzheimer's disease is predicted to reach 100 million cases worldwide by 2050.

Bobrovskaya said: “Obese individuals have about a 55 percent increased risk of developing depression, and diabetes will double that risk.

“Our findings underline the importance of addressing the global obesity epidemic.

"A combination of obesity, age and diabetes is very likely to lead to a decline in cognitive abilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health disorders.”

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