29 August 2009

Obesity linked to brain degeneration

More obesity blues: research shows brains of obese people have less tissue
UCLA: 25 August 2009
Obesity is on a rampage. The World Health Organization pegs the number of those affected at more than 300 million worldwide, with a billion more overweight. With obesity comes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Now there is more discouraging news.

In a study published in the current online edition of the journal Human Brain Mapping, senior author Paul Thompson, a UCLA professor of neurology, lead author Cyrus A. Raji, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and their colleagues compared the brains of elderly people who were obese, overweight and of normal weight to see if they had differences in brain structure — that is, if their brains looked equally healthy.

They found that obese individuals had, on average, 8 percent less brain tissue than people of normal weight, while overweight people had 4 percent less tissue. According to Thompson, who is also a member of UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, this is the first time anyone has established a link between being overweight and having what he describes as "severe brain degeneration." … > full press release

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