EARLY LIFE DIETARY FACTORS AND NEUROCOGNITIVE OUTCOMES
A typical “Western diet” contains higher than recommended levels of added sugar and saturated fatty acids. Our previous research revealed that habitual consumption of these dietary factors leads to deficits in hippocampal-dependent memory processes via altered neurotrophic signaling. Our ongoing research is expanding this work by showing that the juvenile and adolescent phase of development is a particularly vulnerable period through which sugar consumption disrupts hippocampal-dependent memory function in rats. These memory deficits are long-lasting and not reversible when sugar access is removed during adulthood. Additional results show that early life sugar consumption produces robust changes in the gut microbiome in rats, and our ongoing studies are examining the extent to which these sugar-associated microbiota alterations are functionally related to the long-lasting neurocognitive deficits.
Recent publications on this theme (* indicates corresponding author)
Hsu T.M., Konunar V.K., Taing L., Usui R., Kaiser B.D., Goran M.I., *Kanoski S.E. (2015). Effects of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup on spatial memory function and hippocampal neuroinflammation in adolescent rats. Hippocampus, 25(2): 227-39.