It's quite easy to gain weight as you age. Metabolisms slow down, hormones shift, and people generally become less physically active, less sedentary as they age. But inevitability does not mean obesity does not pose serious risks. In addition to the increased likelihood of heart disease (the number one killer for men and women in America), weight gain can also cause serious harm to another, perhaps more substantial, organ – your brain. As bodies get bigger, a new study opens, the brains actually shrink.
Cortical thinning, a phenomenon reported in the study, refers to atrophy of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where almost all information processing takes place. The thinner the bark, the greater the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological diseases. Scientists have found that there is a link between healthy body weight and optimal brain health, but few studies look at the direct role that weight can play. Based on what is already known about the cerebral cortex, study author and neurologist Dr. Tatiana Rundek believes that obesity can be associated with cortical thinning and complete brain atrophy.
To test this, Rundek and her team recruited 1
"These associations are especially strong in those younger than 65 years, which adds weight to the theory that having poor health indicators in the middle of life can increase the risk of brain aging and memory problems and thinking skills in later life, – she warned. The presence of a larger waist was similarly associated with a thinner bark that strengthened the ligament. In perspective, in adults with normal aging, the overall rate of thinning of the cortical mantle is between 0.01 and 0.10 mm per decade, but these results indicate that overweight or obesity can accelerate this process for at least another 10 years.  It is worth noting that the study demonstrates a link between weight and cortical thinning, but scientists are not at the point where they can say with certainty that putting on pounds causes thinning of the brain directly or alzheimer's for that matter. The study also focuses mainly on older participants with an average age of 64, but the data gives another reason for the younger man to start and maintain healthy habits early on. It's not just about looking good, but also having a big beautiful brain.
"These results are exciting because they increase the ability for people to lose weight by losing weight, to be able to cope with their aging brain, and potentially the memory and thinking problems that can come along with brain aging," says Rundek . "However, with the increasing number of overweight or obese people worldwide and the difficulty many people experience with weight loss, this is obviously a public health problem in the future as these people grow older."