Can Obesity Affect Your Brain Size?

A recent study found that body fat could lead to a smaller brain.

“What they found was that whether you take BMI, or whether you take the waist-to-hip ratio, they both appear to be related to smaller brain volumes in the obese,” – Dr. Jagan Pillai, of Cleveland Clinic

The study looked at measurements of each participants BMI, waist-to-hip ration, and overall body fat. They then did an MRI scan of each of the participants.

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Regardless of the findings in the study, some Doctors would say that Human brains come in all sizes to begin with.


Check out study below

Objective To examine the association of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with brain volume.

Methods We used cross-sectional data from the UK Biobank study (n = 9,652, age 55.4 ± 7.5 years, 47.9% men). Measures included BMI, WHR, and total fat mass as ascertained from bioimpedance. Brain images were produced with structural MRI.

Results After adjustment for a range of covariates, higher levels of all obesity measures were related to lower gray matter volume: BMI per 1 SD (β coefficient −4,113, 95% confidence interval [CI] −4,862 to −3,364), WHR (β coefficient −4,272, 95% CI −5,280 to −3,264), and fat mass (β coefficient −4,590, 95% CI −5,386 to −3,793). The combination of overall obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and central obesity (WHR >0.85 for women, >0.90 for men) was associated with the lowest gray matter compared with that in lean adults. In hypothesis-free testing with a Bonferroni correction, obesity was also related to various regional brain volumes, including caudate, putamen, pallidum, and nucleus accumbens. No associations between obesity and white matter were apparent.

Conclusion The combination of heightened BMI and WHR may be an important risk factor for gray matter atrophy.

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