Prenatal Diagnosis. 2016, Sep 29. doi: 10.1002/pd.4932
Edlow reviews the current animal and human research showing a connection between maternal (and sometimes paternal) obesity and high fat diets on neuro-developmental and psychiatric disorders in the offspring. These disorders include cognitive impairment, autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
Mechanisms considered are inflammation and oxidative stress; dysregulated insulin, glucose, and leptin signaling; dysregulated serotonergic and dopaminergic signaling; and problems in synaptic plasticity. Edlow also discusses some of the investigations into therapies that may help prevent such things.
NOTE: Not mentioned are the effect of increased intake of food dyes and other additives – especially fat-soluble additives – as well as neurotoxins such as pesticides that would increase in the modern “high fat” diet. Nor did I notice any reference to the effect on offspring of the original high-fat but all-natural diet of the Inuit or Eskimo peoples. Unfortunately, such research may no longer be possible as their diets, also, have changed both by “modernization” and through increased mercury and PCB content of their food sources.