Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Sugar and Mice

High sugar diet affects brain vessel health and is linked to brain dysfunction

03 February 2022

Sugar and Mice

Mice are the most commonly used animal model for studying human disease due to their genetic similarities to humans and the ease of manipulating their genome. Although direct conclusions about humans can’t be drawn from the models, they're a useful tool. Researchers in Japan recently used a mouse model to study the effects of a high-sugar diet on psychiatric disorders, namely bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, in adolescents. Those mice who had certain susceptibility genes for psychiatric disorders and an excessive sugar intake displayed mental disorder-like symptoms, such as decreased working memory and hyperactivity. Accumulations of fibrin (shown in white), a substance essential for blood clotting, were also found in the blood vessels (the wishbone-like shape) in the mouses’ brains, indicating a problem. Continual use of low-dose aspirin prevented the development of severe disease.

Written by Katy Pallister

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