PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Temple University study finds that canola oil may be linked to worsened memory and learning abilities in Alzheimer’s disease and could be more harmful to the brain.

Researchers at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine report that a diet with consumption of canola oil were linked to worsened memory, learning ability, and weight gain in mice. These effects model those found with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that canola oil may do more harm than good for the brain and human body.

“Canola oil is appealing because it is less expensive than other vegetable oils, and it is advertised as being healthy,” explained Dr. Domenico Praticò, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Microbiology and Director of the Alzheimer’s Center at the university’s school of medicine, as well as senior investigator on the study. “Very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain.”

Together with Elisabetta Lauretti, a graduate student in Dr. Pratico’s lab and co-author of the study, they focused on memory impairment and the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The two factors are what contribute to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration and memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.

Earlier in 2017, Dr. Pratico and Lauretti used a similar model for an investigation involving olive oil. This study show that mice fed with a diet high in olive oil had lower levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau, which lead to improved memories.

Divided into two groups, the mice were fed two different diets. Assessing the mice 12 months later, they noticed significant weight gain in mice on a canola oil enriched diet. Maze tests were conducted to observe memory and learning ability. Mice on the canola oil diet had suffered memory impairments.

After conducting these studies, researchers found that long-term consumption of canola oil was not only non-beneficial to the brain but it could also could also cause severe impairment to it and the human body. The next step these researchers would like to take is studying the effects of consumption of canola oil over a shorter duration to find the minimum effects of exposure.