Study links trans fatty acids and aggression

by Eric Schroeder
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LA JOLLA, CALIF. — Consumption of dietary trans fatty acids may be linked to irritability and aggression, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. The study of nearly 1,000 men and women was published on-line by PLoS ONE. The study measured such factors as a life history of aggression, conflict tactics and self-rated impatience and irritability, as well as an “overt aggression” scale that examined recent aggressive behaviors. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, and use of alcohol or tobacco products. “We found that greater trans fatty acids were significantly associated with greater aggression, and were more consistently predictive of aggression and irritability, across the measures tested, than the other known aggression predictors that were assessed,” said Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the UC San Diego Department of Medicine. “If the association between trans fats and aggressive behavior proves to be causal, this adds further rationale to recommendations to avoid eating trans fats, or including them in foods provided at institutions like schools and prisons, since the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others.”

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