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Study finds link between obesity and brain health



With age, it is fairly easy to gain weight. The metabolism slows down, hormones shift and the physical activity becomes more sedentary with age. But inevitability does not mean that getting fat does not involve serious risks. In addition to the increased likelihood of heart disease (number one killer for men and women in America), gaining weight can cause serious damage to another, possibly more important, organ – your brain. According to a new study, the brain shrinks as the body gets bigger.

The cortical thinning phenomenon mentioned in the study refers to the atrophy of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where almost all information processing takes place. The thinner the cortex, the greater the risk of Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. Scientists have understood that there is a correlation between healthy body weight and optimal brain health, but few studies have addressed the direct role that weight could play. Based on what is already known about the cerebral cortex, the study author and neurologist Dr. Tatjana Rundek that obesity may be associated with cortical thinning and generalized atrophy of the brain.

To test this, Rundek and her team recruited 1

,289 individuals to compare their body and brain findings over time. At the beginning of the study, their BMI and waist circumference were measured, and six years later subjects' brains were scanned using an MRI to measure cortex thickness and brain volume. Of all, 571 people had BMIs in the range of 25 to 30, which is considered overweight, and 371 people were considered to be obese with BMIs of 30 and above. The higher the BMI, the thinner the cortex. Even after Rundek examined variables that could alter the cortex, such as: Hypertension, alcohol consumption and smoking, any increase in BMI was associated with a 0.098 millimeter thinner cortex for overweight individuals and a 0.207 mm thinner cortex for obese individuals.

"These associations were particularly strong at age 65, reinforcing the theory that poor mid-life health indicators may increase the risk of brain aging and problems with memory and thinking skills later in life. Warned her. A larger waist was similarly associated with a thinner cortical, which strengthened the connection. In comparison, the thinning rate of the cortical mantle in normally aging adults is between 0.01 and 0.10 mm per decade. However, these results suggest that being overweight or obese could accelerate this process for at least another 10 years. [19659002] It is worth noting that the study demonstrates a correlation between weight and cortical thinning, but scientists are not at the point where they can confidently say that taking pounds will cause direct brain thinning, or Alzheimer's in the matter. The study also focused primarily on older participants with a mean age of 64 years. However, the data give the younger man another reason to develop and maintain healthy habits early on. It's not just about looking good, it's about having a big, beautiful brain.

"These results are exciting because they increase the potential for people to lose weight by preventing the aging of their brains and possibly the memory and thinking problems that can accompany brain aging," Rundek said. "With so many people around the world who are overweight or obese, and the difficulties associated with weight loss, this is obviously a public health issue for the future as these people get older."

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