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OHSU Researchers Link Neurodevelopmental Disorders to High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy

Elinor Sullivan,Ph.D. OHSU
Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Neuroscience at Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU. Photo credit OHSU

A team of researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), led by Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Neuroscience at Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU and a Murdock College Research Program Life Sciences grant recipient, have linked “an unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in children.”

The research was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.

Read the full article at OHSU’s News page or the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“I think it’s quite dramatic,” said Joel Nigg, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine. “A lot of people are going to be astonished to see that the maternal diet has this big of an effect on the behavior of the offspring. We’ve always looked at the link between obesity and physical diseases like heart disease, but this is really the clearest demonstration that it’s also affecting the brain.”