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Processed Meats, Mania Disorder Risk Linked in New Research

Processed Meats, Mania Disorder Risk Linked in New Research

New research links mania disorder and processed meats like hot dogs. (Kenneth Sponsler/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:53 PM

Processed meats may lead to higher risk of mania, a mood disorder, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University.

Data from more than 1,000 people with and without psychiatric problems showed those hospitalized for mania (hyperactivity, euphoria, and insomnia) were three-and-a-half times more likely to have ever eaten meats cured with nitrates as those who had no history of any mental disorder, Johns Hopkins Medicine said in a news release.

“There’s growing evidence that germs in the intestines can influence the brain,” lead study author and professor of pediatric neurovirology at Johns Hopkins Dr. Robert Yolken said in the release. “This work on nitrates opens the door for future studies on how that may be happening.”

The study was published Wednesday — National Hot Dog Day — in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Nitrates are often found in processed meats such as beef jerky, salami, and hot dogs.

The study does not prove nitrates cause mania, but that there is an association between consuming nitrates and mania when it does exist. 

Mania can involve delusional thinking and dangerous, risky behavior.

“We looked at a number of different dietary exposures and cured meat really stood out,” Yolken said in the release. “It wasn’t just that people with mania have an abnormal diet.”

Eating the occasional cured meat will not cause a manic episode in most people, the study authors pointed out. The condition is complex and involves “both genetic vulnerabilities and environmental factors,” Seva Khambadkone, who worked on the study, said in the statement.

Other research has found rats exhibited mania-like behavior after a few weeks of eating nitrate-laden foods, and that their gut bacteria was altered.

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Processed meats may lead to higher risk of mania, a mood disorder, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University.
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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 05:53 PM
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