“Study Links Fast-Food Diets to Alzheimer’s” by Tom Philpott

In the article “Study links fast-food diets to Alzheimer’s,” Tom Philpott reports that a new study has proven there is a link between the disease and eating junk food. He talks about how today’s economy has a lot of people looking for bargains on everything, including food. But when people buy cheap food, it is usually junk meats like Spam and Dinty Moore canned stew. He quotes Reuters as saying that “mice fed junk food for nine months showed signs of developing the abnormal brain tangles strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.” This was all the content of the article and the author didn’t provide any greater information about where to find the research or report he’s quoting.

However, it didn’t take very long on the internet to find more detailed reports about this study. The study was conducted by a place called the Karolinska Institutet and they had another report on the internet (Fast Food, 2008). This report explained that Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia where people lose their memory and identity. They don’t know what causes it but there is one common element that is a particular genetic variant that’s job is to carry cholesterol. The experiment used mice that had already been genetically altered so that they mimicked the way that this gene normally works in humans and then fed the mice a diet that was very much like a junk food diet. This meant that their food was heavy in fat, sugar and cholesterol. Then the researcher examined the brains of the mice and discovered that there was a chemical change that was very much like what scientists saw in Alzheimer’s patients. It is explained that something called tau was affected that created tangles in the brain that made it impossible for the brain cells to work properly and eventually led to the death of the mice. The study also discovered that fast food diets could affect memory in a negative way. Although the research is important in discovering what causes Alzheimer’s and how it might be treated or prevented, it is also important in showing the importance of having quality food.

I was surprised about the report that says fast food can help you lose memory and makes it hard for you to think. When reading about Mad Cow illnesses, it is easy to try to pretend that this is just a problem that affects the animals or just a problem if you eat meat raised in bad places, but that kind of meat is not sold at your grocery store. But the first article pointed out how that kind of meat is sold at every grocery store in the form of inexpensive food products that we buy to try to save money. We think that we are being smart because we are saving money and we are feeding ourselves at least kind of well because it isn’t really fast food like from McDonalds, but the article says it is roughly the same thing anyway. As a college student, it is important, too, that we are able to remember things in order to get good grades, but if we eat fast food all the time, which includes the cheap food that you can find in the grocery store, then you may have problems processing information and then remembering what you were studying last night. This has shown me how important it is for us to eat right and why it is important for us to work for a better, safer food supply for the nation.

Works Cited

  1. “Fast-food linked to Alzheimer’s: Swedish scientists.” Physorg. (2008). Web.
  2. Philpott, Tom. “Study links fast-food diets to Alzheimer’s.” Grist. (2008). Web.
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