Problems with weight and fleshiness, caused by high fat and sugar ( HFS ) diet, are in epidemic proportions in Australia. Approximately 48 % of work forces and 30 % of adult females in Australia are overweight ( Thorburn, 2005 ) . Obesity, linked to extra organic structure fat degrees can lend to a assortment of wellness jobs including diabetes and hyperglycemia ( Jurdak & A ; Kanarek, 2009 ) .

Recently, due to the turning fleshiness epidemic, there has been an increased involvement in research researching the consequence of HFS diet on cognitive operation every bit good as physical wellness. Such research suggests that a diet-induced maternal fleshiness can take to impaired acquisition of spacial acquisition and memory in mouse progeny of 4 hebdomads ( Tozuka, Kumon, Wada, Onodera, Mochizuki, & A ; Wada, 2010 ) . Besides back uping this determination is a survey that found rats exposed to a HFS diet for a period of two months experienced decreased degrees of brain-derived neurotrophic factor ( BDNF ) and protein in the hippocampus country of the encephalon. These rats besides had reduced degrees of larning public presentation and memory formation ( Molteni, Barnard, Ying, Roberts, & A ; Gomez-Pinilla, 2002 ) .

Further research has concluded that rats fed a higher sugar solution show poorer consequences on an object acknowledgment undertaking than rats devouring a low sugar option ( Jurdak & A ; Kanarek, 2009 ) . It is hence hypothesised that ingestion of HFS diet in worlds, as it does in gnawers, could take to hapless long-run memory and impaired hippocampal map. To happen support or non-support for this hypothesis is the purpose of this experiment. It is of import to find this relationship between dietetic factors and hippocampal map as findings could assist better set up the ways in which diet can impact cognitive ripening and memory loss in ulterior old ages of life.

The Logical Memory undertaking and Verbal Paired Associate Learning undertaking were used to mensurate memory map through both immediate and delayed callback. It has been shown that per centum keeping scores on this undertaking have a correlativity with hippocampal volume. It was besides hypothesised that ingestion of HFS diet does non impact general cognitive map. This was measured utilizing Digit Span to set up working memory guaranting HFS does non impact general cognitive map but hippocampal map in peculiar.

The 3rd hypothesis is that females should expose lower tonss on the fat/sugar screener than males. Research suggests that male ‘s mean day-to-day energy consumption is higher than that of females with a peculiar survey demoing alcoholic and meat merchandises are consumed more often by males than females ( Bull, 1992 ) . If this common tendency is non shown by the fat/sugar screener in this experiment, the cogency of the experiment is bought into inquiry.



The participants were 232 university undergraduate pupils enrolled in an introductory psychological science class at Macquarie University. There were 72 male and 160 female participants whose ages ranged from 17 to 44 ( M = 20.19 old ages ) .


MediaLab package was used for presentation of all questionnaires and stimulations every bit good as to enter participant responses. Participants were administered the Logical Memory ( LM ) and Verbal Paired Associate Learning ( VPAL ) subtests of the Weschler Memory Scale-Revised ( WMS-R ) . These subtests are designed to mensurate verbal memory keeping and have been shown to be hippocampal dependant ( Saling et al. , 1993 ) . Participants besides completed the Digit Span Forwards and Backwards subtests of the WMS-R as a step of attending and working memory ( Spitz, 1972 ) .

Additionally, participants were asked to finish a Depression, Anxiety and Stress Screener ( DASS ) , a Social Desirability Scale ( SDS ) and the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire ( TFEQ ) . The DASS is designed to mensurate the three emotional provinces depression, anxiousness and tension/stress and consists of 21 self-report points such as “ I found it difficult to weave down. ” The SDS, developed by Marlowe and Crowne, requires participants to react “ true ” or “ false ” to 33 statements refering personal attitudes and traits such as “ I have ne’er intensely disliked person ” and is designed to mensurate socially desirable reacting. The TFEQ is designed to mensurate cognitive and behavioral constituents of feeding and consists of 51 self-report points such as “ When I feel bluish, I frequently overeat ” .

Participants were besides asked to finish the Dietary Fat and Sugar ( DFS ) Screener This short questionnaire has been shown to correlate with other established methods of dietetic appraisal such as nutrient frequence questionnaires and diet journals ( unpublished work ) .


On come ining the category, participants were asked to make full in consent signifiers provided. They were instructed that they would be finishing a series of trials and questionnaires utilizing MediaLab package. For the LM undertaking, participants were presented with an audio recording of Story B from the WMS-R and given a upper limit of 3 proceedingss to type every bit much as they could remember. For the VPAL undertaking, an audio recording presented a list of 8 word brace at a rate of one brace of words every 3 seconds. Upon callback, participants are provided one word in the brace and given a upper limit of 10 seconds to type the corresponding word. This process was repeated 3 times. For Digit Span Forwards and Backwards, digit series were presented via audio file and participants were given a upper limit of n+2 seconds ( where vitamin D = figure of figures presented ) to type their responses. For Digit Span Backwards, participants were asked to remember the sequences of figures in the contrary order to which they were presented.

Upon completion of the immediate memory undertakings, participants were asked to finish the DASS, the SDS, the TFEQ and the DFS Screener.

Finally, at about 25 proceedingss after the completion of the immediate memory undertakings, participants performed delayed callback of both the Logical Memory and VPAL stimulation. Recall was completed in the same order as original presentation. Percent keeping tonss were computed utilizing the undermentioned expression: delayed callback / immediate callback ten 100.

Statistical analyses were performed utilizing SPSS for Windows package ( version 16.0 ) . Participants identified as outliers on the DASS, SDS and TFEQ were excluded from the analysis. The relationship between fat/sugar consumption and memory map was assessed with Pearson ‘s R coefficient. An independent samples t-test was performed to prove for between gender differences on Fat/Sugar Screener tonss. Statistical significance was set at P & lt ; 0.05.

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