Coke made rodents dumber

(ORDO NEWS) — Two months of daily consumption of sugary soda weakened the memory and cognitive abilities of rats. Scientists attribute this to the development of oxidative stress in their brain cells.

Coca-Cola and other sweet sodas cannot be called healthy or even harmless to health. Excess sugar in them leads to the development of diabetes, heart disease, teeth and liver.

Even “diet” options with sweeteners can damage the heart and blood vessels. Now Brazilian scientists have demonstrated another danger of such drinks – for cognitive abilities.

They write about this in an article published in the journal Experimental Gerontology.

Josiane Budnic and her colleagues at the University of Southern Santa Catarina conducted experiments with laboratory rats.

They were divided into groups by age – two months, eight and 14 – and tested cognitive and behavioral skills using mazes.

After that, for 57 days, half of the animals in each group were given Coca-Cola and the other half plain water.

Cognitive tests were repeated immediately after this period, as well as another ten days after the return of experimental rats to a normal diet. Finally, some animals were sacrificed to study the state of their brain tissue.

Rats from the control groups who drank plain water did not show any significant changes. But in the experimental groups, the changes were evident, especially in the young, two- and eight-month-old cohorts.

They had a marked deterioration in memory and the ability to pass mazes.

Histological preparations of the brain showed disturbances in the structures of the frontal cortex and the hippocampus, important areas associated with memory and higher cognitive functions.

Scientists have found that such effects may be associated with malfunctions in the mechanisms of protection against oxidative stress.

Living cells constantly produce peroxide and other reactive oxygen species, which serve as powerful oxidizing agents and can cause serious damage.

They are constantly counteracted by numerous and fast enzymes – primarily catalase and peroxide dismutase.

However, in the neurons of rats that consumed sweet Coca-Cola, a reduced activity of these proteins was noted, and in young animals it was especially noticeable.

Their cells coped worse with active oxygen and developed oxidative stress with all the ensuing harmful consequences.

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