LiveScience: Obese people have “severe brain degeneration”
A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said today.
Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by 8 years.
The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent “severe brain degeneration,” said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.
More than 300 million worldwide are now classified as obese, according to the World Health Organization. Another billion are overweight. The main cause, experts say: bad diet, including an increased reliance on highly processed foods.
Obese people had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long-term memory) and basal ganglia (movement), the researchers said in a statement today. Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).