Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | Obesity | BMI | affect | brain | cognitive | function

Your BMI May Affect Your Brain

Your BMI May Affect Your Brain

(Copyright AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 October 2016 11:57 AM


Maintaining a healthy weight is good for your brain, say researchers from the University of Arizona, who found that a higher body mass index (BMI) can have a negative effect on cognitive functioning in older adults.


The reason is inflammation, which has been implicated in many deadly diseases, including Alzheimer's and at least 10 types of cancer.


"The higher your BMI, the more your inflammation goes up," said study lead author Kyle Bourassa. "Prior research has found that inflammation — particularly in the brain — can negatively impact brain function and cognition."


BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI of 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI of at least 30 is classified as obese. (To calculate your BMI, go here.)


Although previous studies linked higher BMI to lower cognitive functioning, scientists didn't understand how and why the two were connected.


"We saw this effect, but it's a black box. What goes in between?" said Bourassa, adding that understanding the mechanisms could lead to future treatments.


Bourassa and co-author psychology professor David Sbarra, analyzed two data samples — a total of about 21,500 people — from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which included Englishmen age 50 and older.


Both samples produced the same results.


"The higher participants' body mass at the first time point in the study," Bourassa said, "the greater the change in their CRP levels over the next four years.


"CRP stands for C-reactive protein, which is a marker in the blood of systemic inflammation in your body.


"Change in CRP over four years then predicted change in cognition six years after the start of the study.


"The body mass of these people predicted their cognitive decline through their levels of systemic inflammation," Bourassa said.


The findings support existing literature linking inflammation to cognitive decline and take it a step further by highlighting the important role of body mass in the equation.


Cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, even in healthy adults, and can have a significant impact on quality of life. The current research may provide insights for treatments.


"If you have high inflammation, in the future we may suggest using anti-inflammatories not just to bring down your inflammation but to hopefully also help with your cognition," Bourassa said.


Of course, maintaining a healthy weight is also good for overall health, he added.


"Having a lower body mass is just good for you, period. It's good for your health and good for your brain," Bourassa said.


The study is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.


The National Institutes of Health says that more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and more than one-third are defined as being obese.


Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease, due to oxidative stress and inflammation.


Researchers at the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine found that for every five point increase in BMI — the equivalent to approximately 39 pounds — risk was increased 62 percent for cancer of the uterus, 31 percent for gallbladder cancer, 25 percent for kidney cancer, 10 percent for cancer of the cervix, and 9 percent for both thyroid cancer and leukemia.


Higher BMI also increased the risk of liver cancer (19 percent), colon (10 percent,) ovaries (9 percent), and breast (5 percent), although other factors influenced risk in these categories.


Researchers at the University of Southern California believe that 1 in 5 premature deaths in North America could be avoided by having a healthy weight with a BMI between 18.5 and 25.

 

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Maintaining a healthy weight is good for your brain, say researchers from the University of Arizona, who found that a higher body mass index (BMI) can have a negative effect on cognitive functioning in older adults. The reason is inflammation, which has been implicated in...
BMI, affect, brain, cognitive, function, inflammation
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2016-57-18
Tuesday, 18 October 2016 11:57 AM
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