Scientists have discovered that obesity influences your brain’s age. The researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K confirmed that the brains of obese people seem much older than those of thin, healthy people.
Studies were conducted on 473 healthy individuals with ages between 20 and 87 years old. They then conducted MRI scans on the participants that were first divided into 246 thin individuals, 77 obese subjects, and 150 overweight subjects.
After scientists used special computer software they were then able to analyze the brain by examining cortical thickness and white matter volume. White matter is the tissue that allows information to travel between regions and connects different parts of the brain. The decrease of this tissue is a natural process that appears naturally with aging.
The team of scientists analyzed how the white matter volume differed depending on the age and weight of participants. The studies revealed that the obese and overweight people had a notably diminished volume of white matter in comparison to the thin individuals. The best example given by the scientists was that an overweight person of 50 had the same white matter as a light individual aged 60.
The fact that the white matter differences were only notable from middle-age onward has brought the possibility of only being vulnerable at that age. Moreover, it is just as important to find out if this process is reversible with weight loss, which may well be the case, the team noted.
As we grow old, our brains reduce in size, but it has not yet been sufficiently explained how our weight could lessen the amount of white matter.
It has been proved that the population obesity level might influence the risk of neurodegeneration. Instead, the researchers have not found any links between being obese or overweight and an individual’s cognitive abilities. Tests similar to an IQ test were conducted on patients to establish this new finding.
There is still much research needed to be done to solve the mystery of the changes made in our brains by obesity.
Living in an aging population that has an increased level of obesity is necessary to discover how the two factors interact.
How do you feel about the influence that obesity has on our brain’s age? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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