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High-fat diet may cause damage to weight-regulating area of the brain

Category: Diabetes

Eating a high-fat diet may damage areas of the brain associated with weight regulation, causing the body to store excess fat and increasing an individual's odds of receiving a positive HbA1c test for diabetes, according to a new study out of the University of Washington.

Researchers found that mice fed diets rich in fat showed signs of inflammation in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. This region of the brain plays an important role in the body's processing of fat.

The inflammation noted by the researchers appeared to cause damage to critical groups of neurons in the hypothalamus. This impaired the ability of the structure to function at full capacity. The investigation team speculated that this damage could result in weight gain and an impaired ability lose excess fat through exercise and an improved diet.

However, Joshua Thaler, who led the study, said that it may be possible to design medications that target this process, effectively ending the damage caused by inflammation associated with a high-fat diet. He said this could be a major advancement in the battle against obesity and diabetes.

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