Results of a study has shown a possible link between body weight and brain health. Obesity could be connected to cortical thinning and brain atrophy.
Cortical thinning refers to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where all the information is processed. The thinner the cortex, the greater the risk of neurological and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Around 1200 people were recruited for the study to compare their bodies and brains. Their BMI and waists were recorded at the initial stage of the study and six years later, their brains were scanned by MRI to measure the thickness of the cortex and the brain volume.
Every unit increased in BMI made the cortex thinner by 0.098 mm in people who were overweight, and 0.207 mm thinner in those who are obese.
The results revealed that the higher the BMI, the thinner the cortex. Out of all the people observed, 371 people were obese, having BMIs 30 and above, 571 were overweight, with BMIs between 25 to 30.
Fatherly quotes study author and neurologist Dr Tatjana Rundek,
“These associations were especially strong in those who were younger than 65, which adds weight to the theory that having poor health indicators in mid-life may increase the risk for brain aging and problems with memory and thinking skills in later life.”Dr Tatjana Rundek
The overall thinning rate of the cortical mantle is between 0.01 and 0.10 mm per decade, but being overweight or obese speeds up this process by at least another ten years. Having a broader waist is also associated with thinner cortex.
While the scientists failed to give some strong evidence for the fact that there is a direct correlation between putting on weight and neurological diseases, the results are indicate a serious issue.
“However, with the rising number of people globally who are overweight or obese and the difficulty many experiences with losing weight, obviously this is a concern for public health in the future as these people age.”Dr Tatjana Rundek
The study is alarming and the young generation should primarily focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and habits.
“These results are exciting because they raise the possibility that by losing weight, people may be able to stave off aging of their brains and potentially the memory and thinking problems that can come along with brain aging.”Dr Tatjana Rundek