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Trans Fat Intake Linked to Aggressive Behavior

Link persists after adjustment for confounders; preserved across gender, age, ethnicity strata

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of trans fats is associated with greater aggression, according to a study published online March 5 in PLoS One.

Noting that dietary trans fatty acids block the production of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce aggression, Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of California San Diego, analyzed dietary surveys and adverse behavior via aggression and conflict scales as well as self-rated impatience and irritability in 945 adults.

The researchers found a significant association between greater dietary trans fatty acid consumption and greater aggression, which persisted after controlling for sex, age, education, alcohol, and smoking. The association was preserved across strata of gender, age, and ethnicity. Trans fats were more consistent predictors of aggression than other indicators assessed.

"This study provides the first evidence linking dietary trans fatty acids with behavioral irritability and aggression," Golomb and colleagues conclude. "If the association is determined to be causal, then the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others with whom that person interacts."

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