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eWellness: Longer the waist line, shorter the brain size

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Dr KK Aggarwal    10 February 2018

For every excess pound piled on the body, the brain gets a little bit smaller. A new research from UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson, has found that elderly individuals who were obese or overweight had significantly less brain tissue than individuals of normal weight. The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than their healthy counterparts while those of overweight people looked 8 years older.

Much of the lost tissue was in the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain, the seat of decision-making and memory, among other things. These have serious implications for aging, overweight or obese individuals, including a heightened risk of Alzheimers. Obesity thus may accelerate ageing. The researchers studied brain images of 94 people in their 70s. None of the participants had dementia or other cognitive impairments. They were followed for five years. Clinically obese people had 8 percent less brain tissue, while the overweight had 4 percent less brain tissue compared to normal-weight individuals.

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