Study links sugar to memory problems

Study links sugar to memory problems

Healthy living is about staying up to date on the latest health news.

Sugar is well known to be detrimental to health when consumed too often. It is known to cause weight gain, metabolic conditions, and studies show that it can even contribute to cancer.

A team of scientists, using an animal-based study, found that adolescents were at an increased risk of developing negative health effects due to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Adolescent rats that freely consumed large quantities of liquid solutions containing sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) experienced brain inflammation, memory problems, and became pre-diabetic, according to a study from USC.

The brain is especially vulnerable to dietary influences during critical periods of development, like adolescence,” said Scott Kanoski, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Kanoski collaborated with a team of scientists at USC, studying 76 total rats. The results were published in the journal Hippocampus.

About 35 to 40 percent of the rats’ dietary intake was from sugar of HCFS. For comparison, the average U.S. teen’s diet is composed of 17% sugar, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After the rats were fed the sugary liquids, they were tested in a maze to gauge their spatial memory ability. Adolescent rats that consumed the beverages, especially the one with HCFS, performed the worst of all groups. This may be a result of inflammation in the hippocampus.

According to Healthline, the hippocampus is the region of the brain “responsible for long-term or declarative memory.” Persons with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia often suffer damage to the hippocampus.

Consuming a diet high in added sugars not only can lead to weight gain and metabolic disturbances, but can also negatively impact our neural functioning and cognitive ability.” Kanoski said. Next, Kanoski and his team plan to see how different monosaccharides (simple sugars) and HFCS affect the brain.

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1. “Sugar Linked to Memory Problems in Adolescent Rats.” University of Southern California. University of Southern California, 07 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

2. “Effects of Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption on Spatial Memory Function and Hippocampal Neuroinflammation in Adolescent Rats.” Wiley Online Library. Hippocampus, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

3. “Sugar Linked to Memory Problems in Adolescent Rats.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 07 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

4. “Consumption of Added Sugar Among U.S. Children and Adolescents, 2005–2008.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mar. 2012. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

5. “Hippocampus Function, Anatomy & Definition.” Healthline. Healthline, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.

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