High trans fat consumption tied to worse memory in men

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High trans fat consumption tied to worse memory in men
High trans fat consumption tied to worse memory in men

HealthDay News -- Young and middle-aged men who ate large amounts of trans fat exhibited a significantly reduced ability to recall words during a memory test, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA), held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Chicago.

“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory, in young and middle-aged men, during their working and career-building years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, of University of California-San Diego, in an AHA news release.

To examine trans fat consumption and memory loss, Golomb and colleagues studied approximately 1,000 men aged 20 years or older who had not been diagnosed with heart disease. Participants completed a questionnaire, from which the investigators estimated their trans fat consumption.

To assess memory, the scientists presented participants with a series of 104 cards with a word on each. Participants had to stay whether each word was new or had already appeared on a prior card.

Among men aged less than 45 years, those who ate more trans fat demonstrated notably worse performance on the word memory test, even after taking into account factors such as age, ethnicity, and depression. Each additional gram a day of trans fat consumed was associated with an estimated 0.76 fewer words correctly recalled.

The oxidizing effects of trans fats may cause brain cells crucial to memory  to die off, noted Golomb. Oxidative stress has been associated with diseases such as heart disease and cancer. At the same time, the energy-sapping effects of the trans fats may make brain cells more sluggish and less responsive, she added.


  1. Golomb BA et al. "Trans fat consumption is linked to diminished memory in working-aged adults." Presented at: American Heart Association Annual Meeting. Chicago; Nov. 15-19.
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