Recent research showed that obesity is a risk factor in causing brain illnesses such as psychological disorders and cognitive impairments. Currently, no analyses have shown how obesity and brain functioning are linked. Also, the process by which body fat independently affects psychological well-being and cognitive abilities remain unclear.
To establish the main effect of obesity on mental health and cognitive abilities, clarifying the role played by several factors, and understanding their relations is essential.
Having an unhealthy weight is a vital risk factor for health complications, including developing cardiovascular problems and metabolic conditions. Can excess weight also be a factor for cognitive decline?
Research shows that there is a significant relationship between BMI (body mass index) and the rate of cortical thinning as individuals age. By definition, the cerebral cortex is the thin outer layer of the human brain. The segment contains a high amount of gray matter – a substance made out of neuronal cell bodies. Scientists associate the thinning of the cortex with cognitive decline, in which consequently, they are associated with high risks of dementia.
In a recent study, scientific researchers worked with around 1300 participants who’s their average age is 64 years. Out of these, two-thirds were of Hispanic heritage. The researchers measured the participants BMI’s and their waist circumferences. Among them, around 400 had BMIs under 25, which denoted a healthy weight. 571 of the participants were between 25 to 30, which placed them in the overweight category, and the obesity category comprised of 372 participants.
Furthermore, participants with healthy BMIs, 54% were ladies with an average circumference waist of 33 inches. Overweight people, 56% we ladies with an average waist circumference of 36 inches. Among the people with obesity, 73% were ladies, and they had a waist circumference of 41 inches.
Local brain scans have shown that obese people had consequently lower gray matter density in the frontal lobe and middle frontal gyrus compared to a healthy weight. Gray matter in brain contains most of the brain’s nerve cells which includes brain regions involved in muscle control, sensory perception and self-control. The white topic contains nerve fiber bundles that contain various areas of the brain.
After analyzing the other effects that can affect brain volume, the researchers found that IBM is slightly linked to lower brain volumes. The participants with high waist to hip ratio and IBMs are found to have lower gray matter brain volumes than those who didn’t have a high waist to hip ratio.
In short, it is not evident whether obesity causes cognitive impairments without from other risk factors. Although previous research has shown a negative association between obesity and aged related CD, studies performed with exclusion criteria and accurate adjustment for potential collinearity however supports the relationship. Besides, there is a link between obesity and shrinkage in specific regions of the brain. This requires further research, but it may cause shrinkage on some parts of the brain. This requires further research, but there is a possibility that soon, IBM and waist to hip measurement may help in determining brain health.
To get a better understanding the exclusive role played by obesity in enhancing psychological diseases, there is a design to improve the study design through implementing clear exclusion criteria, enough comparison groups, more advanced statistical techniques and appropriate assessment of psychological functions and cognitive domains.