Washington: High-fat diets and brain-based conditions childhood like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and memory-dependent learning disabilities may be linked, according to new research released by the University of Illinois."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," said Gregory Freund, a professor in the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a member of the university`s Division of Nutritional Sciences.Freund said that altered dopamine signaling in the brain is common to both ADHD and the overweight or obese state. "And an increase in the number of dopamine metabolites is associated with anxiety behaviors in children," he added.Intrigued by the recent upsurge in both child obesity and adverse childhood psychological conditions, including impulsivity, depression, and ADHD, Freund`s team examined the short-term effects of a high-fat (60 percent calories from fat) versus a low-fat (10 percent calories from fat) diet on the behavior of two groups of four-week-old mice. A typical Western diet contains from 35 to 45 percent fat, he said.
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