Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | Obesity | overweight | poor | memory | obesity

Being Overweight Linked to Poor Memory

Being Overweight Linked to Poor Memory
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Monday, 29 February 2016 03:33 PM

Can’t remember the last time you hit the gym or had a healthy, balanced meal? Could be it’s not just a coincidence.

University of Cambridge researchers have found that overweight people have poorer episodic memory — the ability to recall past events — than their normal-weight peers.
The findings, published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, add to increasing evidence of a link between memory, obesity, and overeating.

The researchers suggest their work suggests excess body weight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally.

In particular, obesity has been linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision making, problem solving, and emotions.

"Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behavior is becoming more and more important given the rise of obesity in society," said Dr. Lucy Cheke. "We know that to some extent hunger and satiety are driven by the balance of hormones in our bodies and brains, but psychological factors also play an important role — we tend to eat more when distracted by television or working, and perhaps to 'comfort eat' when we are sad, for example.

"Increasingly, we're beginning to see that memory — especially episodic memory, the kind where you mentally relive a past event — is also important. How vividly we remember a recent meal, for example today's lunch, can make a difference to how hungry we feel and how much we are likely to reach out for that tasty chocolate bar later on."

The researchers administered memory tests to 50 participants aged 18-35, with body mass indexes (BMIs) ranging from 18 through to 51. A BMI of 18-25 is considered healthy, 25-30 overweight, and over 30 obese.

Overall, the team found an association between higher BMI and poorer performance on the tests.

"We're not saying that overweight people are necessarily more forgetful," said Cheke, "but if these results are generalizable to memory in everyday life, then it could be that overweight people are less able to vividly relive details of past events — such as their past meals. Research on the role of memory in eating suggests that this might impair their ability to use memory to help regulate consumption.

"In other words, it is possible that becoming overweight may make it harder to keep track of what and how much you have eaten, potentially making you more likely to overeat."

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British scientists have found that overweight people have poorer episodic memory - the ability to recall past events - than their normal-weight peers.
overweight, poor, memory, obesity
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2016-33-29
Monday, 29 February 2016 03:33 PM
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