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Love to binge on fatty foods such as oily samosas and cheese-laden
pizzas? Beware, as a new study warns that such children may be at risk
of developing cognitive and psychiatric problems such as schizophrenia
or Alzheimer's disease in their adulthood.According to the study, diets rich in fat deplete the levels of a
key protein known as reelin which help synapses in the brain to work
properly. This hampers behavioural flexibility and memory. Low levels of
reelin have been associated with a higher risk of developing
Alzheimer's disease in later life.The authors focused on a prefrontal cortex -- a brain region --
associated with the planning of complex actions and decision making,
expressing one's personality and controlling one's social behaviour.Adolescents eating high-fat diets were found to have cognitive
deficits due to the immature character of the prefrontal cortex during
this time frame.

"We saw that plasticity in the prefrontal cortex was impaired in animals
fed high-fat foods during adolescence and quite remarkably we then
observed that when restoring reelin levels, both synaptic plasticity and
cognitive functions went back to normal," explained Pascale Chavis from
the INMED Institute in France.

A careful nutritional balance during this sensitive period is pivotal
for reaching the full capacity of adult prefrontal functions, the
researchers said, in the paper published in the journal "Molecular
Psychiatry".
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