As a person gains weight, not only his body but the brain functions are also changed says the new study on brain imaging. This is one of the biggest studies of its type, investigating the link between obesity in adults and brain dysfunction caused by weight changes. The complete findings of this study are published in the journal Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
For this study, the research team analyzed functional neuroimaging scans obtained from more than 17,000 people. These scans were taken by means of the single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) to find the changes in blood circulation and brain functions.
Normally, the low blood supply to the brain is the first predictor of Alzheimer’s disease in patients. In addition to this, it also shows an increased risk of schizophrenia, anxiety, addiction, depression, ADHD, suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, and many other similar conditions.
Daniel G. Amen is the founder of Amen Clinics (a brain health clinic) and author of this study. He says that obesity is a big risk factor for promoting the risk of various neural diseases and psychiatric conditions.
Understanding the pattern of low blood flow towards the brain is different for people with low weight, overweight, and normal weight. It can also be different in various classes of obesity-ridden people. The scans were taken from a resting phase of the participants while they were given a task that required concentration. The areas that are vulnerable to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. All of them showed a low blood supply to the hippocampus, temporal lobes, posterior cingulate gyrus, parietal lobes, and precuneus in people which were overweight (class 1), obese (class 2) and morbidly obese (class 3).
Now relating these findings with the latest statistics on obesity that 72% of US citizens are over their healthy weight, 42% of which are obese shows that all of these people are at a high risk of cognitive and psychiatric disorders.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports obesity to be increased by 42.4% within the year 2017 and 2018. It also explains that obesity-related medical conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancers are also on the high rise, which often results in the premature death of a person.
George Perry is a neurobiologist from the University of Texas and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. He has commented on these findings that Alzheimer’s is more of a lifestyle disease which makes it somewhat different than other diseases associated with age. This is strong evidence that overweight and obesity changes the blood supply towards major parts of the brain that promote certain diseases including Alzheimer’s. This study is significant as it clearly reveals the bodyweight to brain function relation.
There is a dire need to study obesity as a risk factor in brain-related diseases. It should be added to the prevention plan and treatments recommended by the doctors to prevent Alzheimer’s. On the other side, there is a brighter side to this as well. This study highlights the significance of maintaining a perfect weight by changing and adopting a health-friendly habit and diet.