- Obesity is linked to many diseases including heart disease, depression and cancer.
- Neuroresearchers at McGill University have now discovered a link between obesity and how Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain.
- Scientists believe that losing excess weight can help reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s.
Obesity is associated with various diseases and health concerns, including
Previous research has also found a link between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. A new study led by researchers at McGill University Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) has now identified a potential risk mechanism through which obesity may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists have found that the type of neurodegeneration caused by obesity is similar to the type that causes Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, researchers believe that weight loss may be delayed
appears in the study Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Postdoctoral researcher at McGill University Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and first author of this study. According to Philip Morris, obesity has a negative effect on the brain, mostly in terms of neurodegeneration.
“It has been shown that obesity itself, but associated comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia, can cause neuronal damage,” Dr. Morris said. Medical News Today.
“Obesity (obesity) is not just a measurement or some physical number – it is a multi-complex, multi-system disease with wide-ranging implications,” Dr. Scott Kaiser, a geriatrician and director of Geriatric Cognitive Health. For the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.
“To some extent, we understand the direct effects of obesity on our central nervous system, including our brain health,” Dr. Kaiser continued. “There are multiple mechanisms within this potential relationship. There is the potential for increased inflammation (and) oxidative stress — all of which drives a concept that I think a lot about in geriatrics called ‘inflammation-aging.’ And the implications in terms of hormonal regulation,
Board certified neuropsychologist and creator of I Care for Your Brain Dr. Karen D. Sullivan said MNT That obesity—specifically increased body mass, high body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratio—is associated with cognitive impairment and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.
“Confounding in earlier data were known metabolic changes that often, but not always, accompany obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, and lipid disorders,” Dr. Sullivan said. “These metabolic changes result in cerebrovascular changes and neurodegeneration in specific parts of the brain that mimic the pattern of Alzheimer’s disease and are all linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s disease-related brain pathology.”
Dr. Morris called this study a
“It was previously known that obesity is a
risk factorsfor Alzheimer’s disease, but we wanted to directly compare brain atrophy patterns in both, which we did in this new study.”
In this study, Dr. Morris and his team compared patterns of gray matter atrophy — or loss of brain cells — in patients with obesity or Alzheimer’s disease. Using a sample of more than 1,300 people, they compared Alzheimer’s disease patients with healthy controls and obese (otherwise healthy) lean individuals.
In the analysis, the scientists found that both obesity and Alzheimer’s disease affect the loss of gray matter brain cells – also known as
Based on these findings, researchers believe that weight loss can potentially slow cognitive decline and reduce a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
“At this point, our study suggests that obesity prevention, weight loss, but also reducing other metabolic risk factors associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and have a beneficial effect on cognition.”
– Dr. Morris
After reviewing this study, Dr. Kaiser said that while this is not a new concept overall, it further validates our understanding of the critical relationship between obesity and dementia risk and our understanding of modifiable risk factors.
“Obesity is recognized as a modifiable risk factor for dementia and this has been shown in population studies where they follow groups of people over time and people who are obese are more likely to develop dementia,” he explained.
“And in some studies, it’s on the order of a 1/3 higher rate of developing dementia than people of normal weight,” Dr. Kaiser added. “(There are) also animal studies that are looking at the physiological effects of obesity on brain health. And so it’s all coming together to point to a really important target, especially in midlife, that could have a significant impact for decades to come.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Sullivan is clear that conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and lipid disorders, especially when poorly controlled for long periods of time, contribute to neurodegeneration through poor oxygenation.
“We need to improve public health information about the negative impact of these conditions on brain health,” she continued. “They are incredibly responsive to lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and stress reduction, especially in the early stages. We need more interventions to address these known metabolic risk factors to reduce the long-term risk of neurodegeneration and many subtypes of dementia.”