effects of diet on spatial memory

There is some evidence both in the animal and the human literature which suggests that a diet high in free sugar and saturated fats (so called “junk food diet”) can affect cognitive function. Interestingly, it has been shown that High Fat/High Sugar (HFHS) diets may impair certain aspects of cognition more than others. The study conducted by Tran and Westbrok (2015) which was recommended reading for this report, is one such study. They found that rats on a HFHS diet showed a selective impairment in remembering spatial location.

Our study aimed to see whether we would see similar effects of diet on memory in human subjects. It was not feasible to place participants on strictly controlled diets, so instead we asked them to estimate their habitual consumption of foods high in fat and sugar via a diet questionnaire and also got them to record their sugar intake for a period of a week. We divided participants into groups according to the (self-reported) amount of sugar and saturated fat in their diets and compared the performance of these groups on different aspects of memory that might be considered to be parallels of the tasks used with rats.

INTRODUCTION – needs to cover theoretical background as to why we did the study,

Consider these theoretical questions:

• What are different aspects of visual memory?
• What brain structures are responsible for these different aspects of memory?
• What types of tasks are used, both with animals and humans, to tap into these different aspects of memory/memory systems?
• How well do the tasks used in our experiment correspond to the tasks used in other studies? Do they tap into the same brain systems?
• What might be some physiological mechanisms by which diet can influence cognition?
• Is the hippocampus (and hippocampally dependent tasks) particularly vulnerable to the effects of diet?

DISCUSSION: few significant results, can talk about approaching significant interaction between group and trials in location error (as faster learning in trial 1 by low fat and sugar group)

• What did the results show? How do you interpret these?
• What aspect of memory seems to be affected?
• What memory processes seem to be affected (e.g, encoding, learning, retention)?
• Did the results support your predictions? What about other findings in the literature?
• What were some of the strengths of our task and procedure?
• What are potential limitations in the way the study was conducted? In the measures used?
• How can the task be improved? Can you think of other measures that might have been useful?
• What can you conclude from these results? How confident are you in the validity of those conclusions?

Around 600 words for introduction and discussion each and 150 for abstract.

I have included all of the results and methods.

I’ve also included the required sources, and a few more that I found


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