American Heart Association
American Heart Association
December 01, 2014
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Trans-fat consumption linked to diminished memory

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CHICAGO — Young men with high trans-fat consumption had poorer scores on a memory test compared with men who had lower intake, according to a report presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Researchers evaluated data on 1,018 healthy participants with no previous diagnosis of heart disease, including 694 men aged at least 20 years and postmenopausal women. All participants had LDL levels between 115 mg/dL and 190 mg/dL and fasting glucose levels of ≤142 mg/dL. The primary analysis focused on the male participants.

To assess trans-fat consumption, participants responded to a food-frequency questionnaire. To assess memory, participants also were administered a recurrent word test, in which they were presented with a series of words printed on cards and asked whether the word had already been presented or was appearing for the first time.

The mean daily trans-fat intake was 4.1 ± 2.9 g/day in men younger than 45 years and ranged from 0.33 g/day to 15.5 g/day.

The researchers observed a significant interaction between age and dietary intake of trans fats (P=.025). The mean number of words recalled during the memory test was 86 (range, 46-104). Trans-fat intake was adversely predictive of memory in men aged 30 to 45 years (n=146). After adjustment for confounders, each gram per day of dietary trans-fat intake was associated with approximately 0.76 fewer words recalled (P=.006), with a difference of 11 words between participants with the highest trans-fat intake vs. those with no trans-fat intake. Adjustment for an increasing number of potential confounders strengthened both the magnitude and statistical significance of the observed association, Alexis K. Bui, BS, from the University of California, San Diego, said during a presentation.

Similar results were observed when the researchers focused on the full population, including women.

“These findings add the possibility of cognitive impairment during key career-building years to the range of other adverse health associations for trans fats … [and] add further impetus to recommendations to avoid trans fats,” Bui said. “Some may think these findings are irrelevant, given the recent FDA ban on trans fats. … However, the United States has not banned industrial trans fats, the regulations do not extend worldwide and the presumed mechanisms behind trans fats have relevance to other exposures.” – by Adam Taliercio

For more information:

Bui A. Abstract #15572. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Nov. 15-19, 2014; Chicago.

Disclosure: Bui reports no relevant financial disclosures.