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If you have a high salt diet you may be doing your brain no favours.

It's long been thought that too much salt is bad for your body, but new research has suggested that it can do more than affect just your heart or blood pressure.

The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that mice fed a high salt diet showed signs of declining mental performance and cognitive impairment. The reason was that their brains had been starved of blood.

The mice showed reduced maze-solving skills under a high salt diet - they eventually stopped even responding to a flick of their whisker.

The reaction also saw an increased circulation of interleukin-17 - an inflammatory substance that can change chemical signals in the brain's blood vessels.

Dr Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Family Brain and Mind Research Institute told ABC Australia:

After about three months, the mice became demented.

Mice are very curious and they like to look for new things, and so over time the mouse lost the ability to identify a normal object.

Then when the mouse was building a nest, which is something the mouse does daily, they were unable to do so.

He estimated that a similar kind of function could occur in humans, as did the researchers in the study.

Previous research associated salty diets with a loss of brain function, however, this was thought to be closely tied to blood pressure health issues.

HT IFL Science

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