High-fat diets can cause depression, study finds
The results show how diets high in saturated fat can cause fatty acids to build up in the hypothalamus, disrupting its normal functioning.
- A new study explores the relationship between obesity, fat intake, and depression.
- The results showed that obesity induced by a high-fat diet, caused depression in mice, but that this was related to changes in the hypothalamus and not the extra weight.
- The study could pave the way for new depression treatments, which could help the nearly 50 percent of patients who don't respond well to current antidepressants.
A new study suggests that a diet high in saturated fats can cause depression by disrupting the normal functioning of the hypothalamus.
Publishing their findings in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the researchers describe how there has long been an established correlation between obesity and depression. What's been less clear, however, is whether obesity causes depression and, if so, which biological mechanisms drive the process.
To explore these questions, the researchers examined the relationship between obesity and depression-like symptoms within two groups of mice. One group was fed a normal diet, the other a high-fat diet in which 60 percent of calories came from fat. After three weeks, the mice on the high-fat diet showed depression-like symptoms, as measured by immobility during a forced swim test and a tail suspension test — both of which are commonly used to measure the effectiveness of antidepressants.
Interestingly, the researchers found that, though some mice were overweight, higher weights "did not correlate with increased immobilization during the tail suspension and forced swim tests after 3 weeks, suggesting that the performance of the mice in these tests was not affected by their increased body weight.
"In agreement with that, the depression-like phenotype developed on mice fed an HFD [high-fat diet] was not accompanied by less locomotor or rearing activity during the open field test compared with mice on [the control diet]," they wrote.
These results suggested that something in the mice's brains — and not the extra weight — was causing depression.
After conducting protein and mRNA analyses, the researchers found that a high-fat diet disrupts the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway in the hypothalamus. This seems to be caused by the accumulation of fatty acids in the hypothalamus, a result of a high-fat diet. These accumulated fatty acids interfere with the normal functioning of the hypothalamus, leading to depression.
"This is the first time anyone has observed the direct effects a high-fat diet can have on the signaling areas of the brain related to depression," George Baillie, lead author on the study, told New Atlas. "This research may begin to explain how and why obesity is linked with depression and how we can potentially better treat patients with these conditions."
The researchers noted how half of all people with depression — and most obese individuals with the condition — don't respond to antidepressants. This new research, however, could pave the way for a "a new generation of antidepressants" that can help restore normal functioning to the hypothalamus.
- Do High-Fat Diets Cause Depression? - Diagnosis:Diet ›
- Diet and depression - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health ... ›
- Balancing Your Fat Intake Controls Depression | Psychology Today ›
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Technology may soon grant us immortality, in a sense. Here's how.
- Through the Connectome Project we may soon be able to map the pathways of the entire human brain, including memories, and create computer programs that evoke the person the digitization is stemmed from.
- We age because errors build up in our cells — mitochondria to be exact.
- With CRISPR technology we may soon be able to edit out errors that build up as we age, and extend the human lifespan.
The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.
- U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
- A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
- Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.
- Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
- The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
- The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.
Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.
The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.
Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."
How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.
Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.
What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.
For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.
Check out how Nuro's vehicles work:
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