Friday, October 05, 2012

Fast food children ‘develop lower IQs’: Junk diet has a lasting effect (?)

The two statements in the heading above don't make a logical sequence. The writer  sort of gets it below in that they realize that the poor eat more fast food but they fail to realize that the poor are dumber and that the low IQ is passed on genetically  -- with what they eat being just incidental.  Journal abstract at foot of article below.

In her comments below Dr Dumb ("Stumm" is German/Yiddish for "dumb") relies heavily on "common sense".  She is obviously a very conventional thinker  -- despite the fact that she is author of a paper which claims that "Intellectual Curiosity Is the Third Pillar of Academic Performance"!  Ya gotta laugh!

She also is a poor psychologist.  The idea that you can reliably measure IQ at age 3 is ludicrous.  Any results you get from it are likely to be a random walk

And in the end she concludes that food type accounts for a "negligible amount" of IQ change.  In other words the kids remained  as bright or dull as they originally were  -- regardless of what they ate!  No wonder she relies so heavily on "commonsense".  Science is clearly too hard for her.  I think she gets by on glamour

Children given more fast food meals will grow up to have a lower IQ than those who regularly eat freshly-cooked meals, according to a study.

Childhood nutrition has long lasting effects on IQ, even after previous intelligence and wealth and social status are taken into account, it found.

The study examined whether the type of main meal that children ate each day had an impact on their cognitive ability and growth.

It looked at 4,000 Scottish children aged three to five years old and compared fast food with freshly-cooked food.

The study, undertaken by an academic at Goldsmiths, University of London, found that parents with a higher socio-economic status reported that they gave their children meals prepared with fresh ingredients more often, which positively affected their IQ.

Lower socio-economic status was linked to more children having fast food, which led to lower intelligence.

Dr Sophie von Stumm, from the department of psychology at Goldsmiths, said: ‘It’s common sense that the type of food we eat will affect brain development, but previous research has only looked at the effects of specific food groups on children’s IQ rather than at generic types of meals.


‘This research will go some way to providing hard evidence to support the various high-profile campaigns aimed at reducing the amount of fast food consumed by children in the UK.’

Dr von Stumm said her findings highlighted that differences in children’s meals were also a social problem. ‘Mothers and fathers from less privileged backgrounds often have less time to prepare a freshly cooked meal from scratch for their children,’ she said.

‘These children score lower on intelligence tests and often struggle in school.

‘Schools in less privileged areas must do even more to balance children’s diet, so that they can achieve their cognitive potential.

‘It shows that the freshness and quality of food matters more than just being full, in particular when children are young and developing.’

You are what you eat? Meal type, socio-economic status and cognitive ability in childhood

By Sophie von Stumm


The current study tests if the type of children's daily main meal (slow versus fast food) mediates the association of socioeconomic status (SES) with cognitive ability and cognitive growth in childhood. A Scottish birth cohort (Growing Up in Scotland) was assessed at ages 3 (N = 4512) and 5 years (N = 3833) on cognitive ability (i.e. vocabulary and picture similarities), SES, and the frequency of having slow and fast food main meals per week. SES was highly correlated at ages 3 and 5 years, while intelligence and the type of meal were only moderately associated across ages. SES at age 3 was positively related to ability at age 3 but not at age 5. The type of meals partially mediated the effects of SES on cognitive ability at ages 3 and 5, with more slow meals being associated with better cognitive performance.

Furthermore, a higher frequency of slow food meals were positively related to cognitive growth between ages 3 and 5 years, after adjusting for SES and prior cognitive ability; however, they only accounted for a negligible amount of the variance in cognitive change. Overall, slow food was associated with better cognitive ability and cognitive growth in childhood, albeit corresponding effect sizes were small.


Taking low dose of aspirin to prevent heart disease could slow down memory loss

Another study which ignores its own conclusions (highlighted).  I long ago noted in my own researchh career that "scientists" usually come to the conclusion they intended to come to, regardless of what their data shows

Taking a low dose of aspirin may help keep the brain young, claim researchers.  A study of older women taking low doses to prevent heart disease found it also helped preserve their memory.

Millions of Britons take aspirin on doctor’s orders to prevent heart problems.  Other research suggests it may cut the risk of cancer.

There have been conflicting results from studies about whether long-term use of Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin protects against declining brain power and dementia.

But research published in the online journal BMJ Open found regular low-dose aspirin did slow cognitive decline.

The five-year study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, involved 681 women aged 70 to 92.  The majority of women were at high risk of heart disease and stroke.

Decline in brain power was found to be considerably less among those who took aspirin every day over the entire period.  It is thought the same effect would be found in men.

All the elderly women were put through tests to measure their physical health and intellectual capacity, including verbal fluency and memory speed, and dementia.

A group of 129 women were taking low dose aspirin (75 to 160 mg) every day to ward off a heart attack or stroke when the study started. A further 94 were taking various other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Their health was tracked over five years, at the end of which the intellectual capacity of 489 women was assessed again.

The mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score fell, on average, across the whole group at the end of the five years, but this decline was considerably less in the 66 women who had taken aspirin every day over the entire period.

The researchers then divided up the group into those who had taken aspirin for the entire five years (66); those who had stopped taking it by 2005-6 (18); those who were taking it by 2005-6 (67); and those who hadn’t taken the drug at any point (338).

Compared with women who had not taken aspirin at all, those who had done so for all five years, increased their MMSE score, while those who had taken aspirin at some point, registered only insignificant falls in MMSE score.

There were no differences, however, in the rate at which the women developed dementia.

The scientists say aspirin’s protective effect may be due to its anti-clotting action helping to improve blood flow to the brain.

Professor Clive Ballard, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘It is a potential additional benefit.  However aspirin does have a number of potentially serious side-effects with long-term use and shouldn’t be taken for long periods unless prescribed by a doctor.’

The author of the research paper, which was published in the online journal BMJ Open, expressed caution over the observational study as the MMSE can detect subtle changes in cognitive ability.

Dr Anne-Borjesson-Hanson University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said: 'The findings indicate that aspirin may protect the brain, at least in women at high risk of a heart attack or stroke.'



Anonymous said...

"I long ago noted in my own researchh career that "scientists" usually come to the conclusion they intended to come to, regardless of what their data shows"
You have met some very peculiar scientists. Most of us simply accept what the data shows us and struggle to explain and/or understand it. It is the funders who want to predetermine the outcome of research, not the scientists.

jonjayray said...

So the two examples above are rare exceptions?