Published in 2009 in FASEB Journal, the study examined the effects of an extended high-fat diet on rats. While being fed a standard, low-fat diet, the rats were tested on their ability to make their way though a maze. This gave researchers a baseline for their short-term memory. Later, the rats ran the same maze after nine days on a high-fat diet and were making more mistakes.
In addition to inhibiting the mental capacities of the test animals, the researchers noted that the diet also affected them physically, making them less able to endure exercise on a treadmill. By the fifth day of the diet, the rats were running 30 percent the distance they were originally. By the ninth day, they were running half as far as they did on the standard diet.
Although teenagers themselves may disagree with the assessment, studies have shown that teens can be impulsive risk-takers. In other words, they are often inclined to act without thinking.
The teen brain is hardwired to overestimate reward and undervalue risk, according to a study published in January 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience. This lack of impulse control may explain why teens are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction, as well as some psychological disorders, according to the study's authors.