By CBS3 Staff


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Consuming a high-fat diet while pregnant may lower your children’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Temple University found high-fat consumption during pregnancy protects offspring against changes in the brain that ultimately may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Scientists fed one group of pregnant mice a high-fat diet from the beginning until the end of gestation, while a second group was fed a regular diet.

“Surprisingly, we found that animals from mothers fed a high-fat diet during gestation had better learning and memory skills than their counterparts born to mothers fed a regular diet during gestation,” Dr. Domenico Praticò said.

They found that the offspring fed high-fat diets during pregnancy had improvement of synapse function and had lower levels of amyloid-beta, an abnormal protein that builds up in neurons, contributing to nerve cell dysfunction and eventually significant impairments in memory and learning.

“Our findings suggest that, to be effective, Alzheimer’s disease prevention probably needs to start very early in life, during gestation,” Dr. Praticò said. “Diet at this specific life stage can have critical, but underestimated, long-term impacts on brain health.”