Sugary drinks may affect long-term health of children

A new neuroscientific study conducted by a team in the United States, comprising researchers from University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Georgia, suggests that consuming sugary drinks doesn’t just lead to oral health issues, diabetes, obesity and heart disease but can deleteriously affect brain function in adulthood.

Published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the study focused on the ways in which consumption of sugary drinks in childhood can impair memory function as people age, adding to the aleady accrued bank of knowledge about the way in which diet can seriously affect a person’s oral and general health.

Drawing on the work of Dr Scott Konoski, which has looked into the links between sugar, cognition and emotion, the study used two groups of rats to test how sugar impacts on the activity of the hippocampus which processes emotionally related memories and also on the perirhinal cortex which plays a key role in sensory perception and memory.

The results of the experiment revealed the way in which sugar can affect these two key areas of memory processing, note the study authors.

“The rats that consumed high levels of sugary drink had more difficulty with memory that uses the hippocampus. Sugar consumption did not affect memories made by the perirhinal cortex.”

The researchers also noted that a specific type of gut bacterium was far more prevalent in sugar drinks than those who drink water, an important finding since this occurrence impacts brain activity and they also noted that sugar consumption impacts the transmission of electrical signals between nerve cells.

The good news is that sustained diet and exercise may be able to reverse this damage, an important reminder that pursuing a healthy lifestyle has profound effects right through a person’s life.

For more on this story, go to “One Major Side Effect of Drinking Sugary Beverages, Says New Study”

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