According to a study just released in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, consuming a diet filled with high-fat foods could lead to multiple sclerosis, with the lesions appearing in your hypothalamus.
In the study, scientists fed rats a high-fat diet that is typical in the United States and were astonished by results that showed them that within 1 day, there was inflammation within the hypothalamus. After an eight month-long extension of this diet, the doctors believed that gliosis occurred while the brain tried furiously to heal from the inflammation.
Gliosis, for those of you without a medical dictionary handy, is just another way of saying “scarring of the nervous system.” It’s the step after demyleniation. Gliosis is the term that is used when a lesion has been created.
To make sure that it wasn’t entirely rodent related, the doctors took 34 obese humans to an MRI machine to check how their hypothalamus activity was looking. They found inflammation and repair activity taking place, but nothing was reported for those subjects regarding lesions or gliosis.
Some scientists believe that, like our pancreas’s insulin jump right after eating, our brains may react similarly with this inflammation. Others are more skeptical, especially since the rodents on a high-fat diet lost about 25% of their POMC cells during the 8 month trial, and those protein cells are critical to regulating appetite.
In any event, it’s clear that there is more research to be done, and that it is wise to watch your intake of fatty foods, not just to keep you fit and trim, but also for your brain health.