Just in case you needed another reason to step away from the Big Mac, research released last week shows that mice fed a junk food diet for nine months showed signs of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The mice had been genetically engineered to have the same gene variant, apoE4 that is found in 15 to 20 percent of humans, and known as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. They were then given food high in fat, sugar, and cholesterol. After nine months, says the study’s lead researcher Susanne Akterin, the brains of the mice exhibited “a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain.

“We now suspect that a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic factors … can adversely affect several brain substances, which can be a contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer’s.”

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