Brains of overweight people 'age faster than those of thinner individuals'

5 August 2016

The brains of obese individuals may age more rapidly than those of a lower weight, according to a new study.

Research from the University of Cambridge looked at the impact of obesity on brain structure among 473 subjects aged between 20 and 87 to investigate whether obesity was associated with brain changes characteristic of ageing.

From middle age, it was shown that the brains of obese individuals demonstrated differences in white matter - the tissue connecting areas of the brain to allow information to be communicated between regions - similar to those in lean individuals who were ten years older.

These differences were only noticeable from middle age onwards, suggesting that the brain may be particularly vulnerable during this period of ageing. However, it was noted that no connection was seen between being overweight and an individual's cognitive abilities.

The study's first author Dr Lisa Ronan, from the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, said: "We can only speculate on whether obesity might in some way cause these changes, or whether obesity is a consequence of brain changes."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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