Weight can Affect Brain Function

The importance of maintaining healthy weight cannot be overemphasized. Most of the chronic health problems the world is facing today have something to do with having unhealthy weight. But now it turns out that healthy weight is not just good for preventing chronic illnesses, it can help maintain brain function as well.

Among adults, a study by researchers from the University of Arizona has indicated that weight is related to cognition. The scientists were able to link BMI to cognition. In general, high BMI resulted in a negative impact on the person's cognitive abilities.

But it's not the high BMI that is the problem, but rather the inflammation it causes. A higher BMI, an indication of how far you you have deviated from normal weight and towards obesity, also causes increased inflammation.

When this inflammation reaches the brain, it can affect its functioning and hence the individual's ability for cognitive functioning. This is not the first time high BMI has been linked to reduce brain functioning, but at least now we know how this problem is manifested.

Understanding the mechanisms through which BMI affected brain functioning was important because it was the only way researchers can find ways to deal with the problem. The study used two samples, one consisting of 9,000 people and another involving 12,500 people.

The focus was on older adults, and the study period lasted 6 years. In all the participants, a high BMI also lead to greater CRP levels. CRP is short for C-reactive protein, a marker used to show the level of inflammation in the body. The levels of this biological marker was then compared to cognition.

In the end, results indicated that inflammation resulted in a decline in cognitive functioning. But the researchers sought to warn users of this information from assuming that inflammation causes a reduction in cognition. What the two parameters indicate is a strong relationship, but that does not imply causality.

For this reason, further research on inflammation and cognition are needed to truly establish why the two are so strongly related. This is especially because a fall in cognitive abilities is traditionally linked to the aging process.

But still, the scientist hope that anti-inflammatory substances could also help boost cognitive functioning. What they can say for sure at the moment is that it is important to maintain healthy weight, because this will undoubtedly result in better cognitive functioning.

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http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159116304329

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/uoa-hyb101716.php