Posted on Oct 23, 2015, 6 a.m.
The region of the brain involved in learning and memory is smaller in people who consume unhealthy foods.
The hippocampus is the region of the brain associated with learning and memory skills. Felice Jacka, from Deakin University (Australia), and colleagues assessed data collected on 255 participants, ages 60 to 64 years, enrolled in the Personality and Total Health Through Life Study. The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to measure the size of the left and right hippocampi; they also surveyed the subjects to ascertain dietary habits. Data analysis revealed that those men and women who consumed unhealthy foods had hippocampi that were smaller, as compared to subjects who followed a healthy diet pattern. The study authors report that: "Lower intakes of nutrient-dense foods and higher intakes of unhealthy foods are each independently associated with smaller left
Jacka FN, Cherbuin N, Anstey KJ, Sachdev P, Butterworth P. "Western diet is associated with a smaller hippocampus: a longitudinal investigation." BMC Med. 2015 Sep 8;13(1):215.