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SAD impairs olfactory memory in mice


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Western diet impairs odor-related learning and olfactory memory in mice

Problems with the sense of smell appear to be an early indicator of cognitive decline in people with type 2 diabetes. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Chemical Neuroscience found that mice fed a moderate-fat, high-sugar chow (simulating a Western diet) showed a faster decline in their ability to learn and remember new odors.

Some people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) show signs of olfactory dysfunction, including problems with detecting, discriminating or recalling odors, or even a complete loss of smell.

it's unknown whether certain nutrients in the diet, such as fat and sugar, affect the sense of smell. To find out, Grazyna Lietzau, Cesare Patrone and colleagues wanted to compare the effects of two diets on different olfactory functions in mice: a high-fat, moderate-sugar diet (HFD); and a moderate-fat, high-sugar diet (similar to a Western diet, WD). In mice, both diets cause obesity and T2D-like features.

By eight months, both the HFD- and WD-fed mice had impaired odor detection, odor-related learning and olfactory memory compared with the control mice. However, the WD-fed mice had a faster decline in the latter two abilities, showing olfactory dysfunction as early as 3 months after beginning the diet. These findings indicate that a high dietary sugar content, rather than hyperglycemia or weight gain, is linked with early deterioration of olfactory functions related to learning and memory, the researchers say.

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