Monday, August 24, 2009

Do fat people become stupid? ...smaller brain is indicative of destructive processes that can develop into dementia...This indicates that it is blood flow that drives brain health, not the other way round.

SHOOT: Certainly appears so from this study.
Not just a physical health risk (Image: Paul Viant/Getty)

BRAIN regions key to cognition are smaller in older people who are obese compared with their leaner peers, making their brains look up to 16 years older than their true age. As brain shrinkage is linked to dementia, this adds weight to the suspicion that piling on the pounds may up a person's risk of the brain condition.

Previous studies suggested that obesity in middle age increases the risk of dementia decades later, which is accompanied by increased brain shrinkage compared with leaner people. Now brain scans of older people have revealed the areas that are hardest hit, as well as the full extent of brain size differences between obese people and those of average weight.

People with higher body mass indexes had smaller brains on average, with the frontal and temporal lobes - important for planning and memory, respectively - particularly affected (Human Brain Mapping, DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20870).
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