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Today's Biology Seminar is with Dr. Scott Kanowski of USC

Fri, February 7th, 2020
1:10 pm
- 2:00 pm

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Today at 1:10pm in Wege, Dr. Scott Kanowski’s talk ““Western diet consumption and memory impairment: what, when, and how?”

Habitual consumption of a “Western diet”, containing higher than recommended levels of simple sugars and saturated fatty acids, is associated with cognitive impairments in humans and in various experimental animal models. Emerging findings reveal that the specific mnemonic processes that are disrupted by Western diet consumption are those that rely on the hippocampus, a brain region classically linked with memory control and more recently with the higher-order control of feeding behaviors. Our laboratory has recently established a rat model in which excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages during the juvenile and adolescent periods of development (but not during adulthood) impairs hippocampal-dependent memory function without concomitant increases in total caloric intake, body weight, or adiposity. Thus, consuming individual components of a Western diet in excess (e.g., sugar) early in life has deleterious effects on memory function independent of obesity. Moreover, memory deficits due to early life sugar consumption are long-lasting into adulthood even when sugar access is removed at the end of the adolescent stage. Our ongoing work is investigating neurogenic changes and alterations in the gut microbiota as potential underlying neurobiological mechanisms linking early life sugar consumption to adverse neurocognitive outcomes.

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