Eat a Big Mac.  Lose your mind.  Is there a link between eating fast food and Alzheimer’s?  Susanne Akterin, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, believes she has found the cause-and-effect for that behavioral disease.

In her research, Akterin focused on a gene variant called apoE4, found in 15 to 20 percent of people and which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The gene is involved in the transport of cholesterol.

She studied mice genetically engineered to mimic the effect of the variant gene in humans, and which were fed a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol for nine months — meals representing the nutritional content of fast food.

These mice showed chemical changes in their brains, indicating an abnormal build-up of the protein tau as well as signs that cholesterol in food reduced levels of another protein called Arc involved in memory storage, Akterin said.

I know many will be shocked, SHOCKED!, to learn what they put in their mouths either helps their body or harms their mind — and that disconnect between the firing of the metabolism and the killing of it is precisely the sort of research we must demand and encourage in order to sustain our whole body health.

How horribly ironic is it then, that McDonald’s profits are way up in these times of economic distress?

Consumers hungry for cheap meals boosted worldwide sales at McDonald’s Corp.’s established locations by 7.7 percent in November, more proof of how the fast-food leader is thriving in a downturn that has eaten into sales at its competitors.

Even recession-weary consumers in the U.S. were enticed by the Golden Arches during the month. U.S. same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — rose 4.5 percent from the same month a year earlier, the company said Monday.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain said the increase came from strong sales of breakfast items, chicken sandwiches and the chain’s value menu options. It comes even as U.S. consumers increasingly opt for eating at home to conserve cash.

Our backs have been broken by the rotten economy, and yet the only way to temper the financial disaster is to eat cheap fast food that then robs us of our cogent minds and adds to the national strain of lifelong medical care for Alzheimer’s.

We’ve created a rotting Möbius strip existence of punishment, self-harm and intentional deception — just so we might hope to survive the next day in this modern world — and our bodies will never forgive us, while our minds will never know the difference.


  1. Indeed. I’m glad that I can’t eat in Mickey D’s any longer! 🙂 Fresh veggies for me, please.

  2. Thank heaven I can say I have NEVER eaten a Big Mac – I refuse to.
    If that research plays out then half the worlds population are going to be at risk in the next 20 years – there is a whole generation of society that has been raised with Big Mac as their staple diet.
    Remember the Supersize Me Documentary? That was frightening enough!

  3. It is just as scary as a nightmare. Is there any healthier and cheaper substitute of it?

  4. That’s a good, necessary, and scary lesson, Nicola. We are raising an entire generation of “Fast Food Kids” and we have no idea how damaging all that processed food will be on their minds and bodies. I think all that cheap, mass-produced, food is only beginning to tell its horrible secrets to us — but I fear it may be too late for many to change their deadly habits.

  5. It’s the cheap convenience of it, Katha. How many places can you get a double cheeseburger for a dollar? It the price, not the taste, that keeps the kids and hungry parents coming back.

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