Tags: Health Topics | Alzheimer's/Dementia | Obesity | blood flow | weight gain | brain

Weight Gain Slows Blood Flow to Brain, Increases Alzheimer's Risk

a scale with the needle pointed at 200 pounds
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By    |   Thursday, 13 August 2020 10:54 AM

A new study reveals yet another reason why it's crucial to maintain a healthy weight. In one of the largest studies linking obesity to brain dysfunction, scientists have discovered what some experts called "the breakthrough of the decade."

They found that the more weight you gain, the less blood flows to your brain. This can dramatically increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other neurological issues such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, said that low blood flow to the brain is the No. 1 predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D., founder of the nationwide Amen Clinics and the lead author of the study, used computerized tomography to measure blood flow and brain activity in 17,000 individuals. He and his research team found striking patterns of reduced blood flow in the brains of people who were overweight and obese compared to those of normal weight. In particular, the parts of the brain most associated with Alzheimer's disease were affected.

"This study shows that being overweight or obese seriously impacts brain activity and increases the risk for Alzheimer's as well as many other psychiatric and cognitive conditions," said Dr. Amen.

That's not good news for Americans. The latest statistics are alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 4 in 10 Americans — 42.4% — are obese, while 72% are overweight.

Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other diseases, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

George Perry, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and a leading neurobiologist at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said Amen's study proves that Alzheimer's is a lifestyle disease and called it "the most important breakthrough of the decade."

"Dr. Amen and his collaborators provide compelling evidence that obesity alters blood supply to the brain to shrink the brain and promote Alzheimer's disease," he said. "This is a major advance because it directly demonstrates how the brain responds to our body."

The study also highlights the importance in intervention programs to target obesity in younger populations to ultimately prevent Alzheimer's and other diseases.

"One of the most important lessons we have learned through 30 years of performing functional brain imaging studies is that brains can be improved when you put them in a healthy environment by adopting brain-health habits, such as a healthy calorie-smart diet and regular exercise," said Amen.

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A new study reveals yet another reason why it's crucial to maintain a healthy weight. In one of the largest studies linking obesity to brain dysfunction, scientists have discovered what some experts called "the breakthrough of the decade."
blood flow, weight gain, brain
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2020-54-13
Thursday, 13 August 2020 10:54 AM
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