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Study: Teens' saturated fat intake can affect learning, memory

Thursday - 2/27/2014, 11:54am  ET

Pizza may be doing more harm than help when it comes to teens' learning and memory into adulthood. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON -- Cheese pizza, ice cream, hot dogs and hamburgers -- some of the foods most teenagers love to eat, might be changing their brains and affect learning and memory into adulthood.

It has to do with eating a lot of saturated fat.

Research on mice featured by The Endocrine Society found adolescent mice fed a normal-calorie diet that is 45 percent saturated fat developed "significantly impaired" spatial memory.

The study found changes in the structure of nerve cells in the memory area of the brains of the study mice. Mice fed high fat diets also had less leptin in their brains. Leptin is a hormone that helps support cognitive function.

Adult mice fed the same high fat diet experienced no similar brain changes.

Also, the adolescent mice with memory problems didn't rebound when given a more healthy diet. The researchers say the information suggests the changes to developing brains are long-lasting.

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