Junk food impairs memory, study says

September 21, 2019  17:23

Scientists from the University of New South Wales investigated the effects of foods high in fat and sugar (such as cakes, cookies and chips) on the cognitive function of rats, Naked-Science reported referring to Scientific Reports.

Rats were divided into four groups in the experiment. Three of them, researchers for six weeks gave junk food. Rats from the first group during the week consumed junk food for three days in a row, after which they sat on a healthy diet for four days. For rodents from the second group, these intervals were 5 and 2 days, respectively, and the third group ate harmful products throughout the experiment. The last group acted as a control and ate only healthy food.

The animals passed two series of tests for the ability to remember objects and their locations — on the 16-18th and 23-25th days of an unhealthy ‘diet’. The memory check took place in a special box - a box of black acrylic measuring 60x60x60 centimeters, the floor of which was marked out into four squares. First, the rats were taught to empty the box, running them inside for 10 minutes two days in a row. After this, the rodents were run into the box for 5 minutes, where two objects were put in certain places - they could be ceramic mugs or aluminum cans.

After the animal studied the situation, it was removed from the box for five minutes; at this time, the participants and the site were wiped with ethanol, and then either replaced one of the objects or moved it to another square. After these procedures, the rat was returned to boxing for three minutes.

Spatial memory was evaluated through a recognition index. This parameter was calculated as the time spent exploring a new or moved object, related to the time spent exploring both objects in a test box. Lower values ​​of this parameter indicated a deterioration in the quality of recognition.

As the research data showed, depending on the frequency of access to the "junk food" in animals, spatial memory worsened to one degree or another. The more days in a row the rat ate unhealthy foods, the worse it reproduced spatial information.

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