Obesity and increased body mass index (BMI) is associated with a myriad of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Recent research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirmed a correlation between higher BMI and decreased brain activity and blood flow. This diminished cerebral perfusion can result in cognitive and psychological deficits including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Scientists evaluated brain scans (SPECT) of 17,721 participants ranging in age from 18 to 94. Scans were administered to participants in a resting state and state of focus or concentration. The participants with a higher BMI showed decreased brain activity and blood flow in both scans, throughout all areas of the brain. Considering the ever-increasing numbers of US adults with obesity this is obviously bad news.
The good news is that brain function and health is responsive to lifestyle improvements. Primary researcher and author of the article, Dr. Daniel Amen, is quoted in Science Daily: “One of the most important lessons we have learned through 30 years of performing functional brain imaging studies is that brains can be improved when you put them in a healing environment by adopting brain-healthy habits, such as a healthy calorie-smart diet and regular exercise.”
By Terissa Michele Miller, MS Psy
Check out the original research: