Obesity And Cognition: Is There A Relation?

Obesity And Cognition

Those extra kilos are not only rendering your latest dresses useless but can also hamper the functioning of your grey cells. A number of recent studies that have been conducted show an adverse effect of being overweight on the cognitive functions of the brain. Obesity might not be a direct risk factor for low cognitive functions but it does act as an obstacle in the optimum functioning of the brain. Obesity has already been proven to be the root cause for a number of health problems like hypertension, high blood sugar and high cholesterol etc. However this time, the focus of the study has been the psychical aspect of the being.

When talking of the correlation between obesity and cognition, the relation may not be direct. The BMI (Body Mass Index) however has a linear relationship with the blood pressure and studies show how high blood pressure can impair the mental performance. There are however researches that have indicated obesity as a high-risk factor for dementia. In a related research, it was observed that a balanced weight, healthy diet, regular exercise and abstaining from smoking and drinking alcohol has contributed to keeping dementia and cognitive impairment at bay. This therefore indirectly implements that obesity may be a contributing factor for dementia.

A comparatively recent study has shown yet another relationship between losing weight and improvement in the memory. The research was conducted in the Umea University, Sweden with the subjects being 20 middle aged, postmenopausal obese women average age- 61 years). Lead author Andreas Pettersson declared that the impairments that are caused to the memory functions because of excess fat in the body can be reversed. During the research, a functional MRI scan was conducted on the subjects. Along with this, their BMI was recorded and a simple memory test was carried out. The women then followed two of the healthy diet regimes for six months. Nine women were assigned the Paleolithic diet, also known as the Caveman diet and the rest followed the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations. The two diet regimes differ in the proportion of proteins, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats.

During the functional MRI scan, the women were tested for their episodic memory by presenting them with random pictures of faces to be associated with random names. After six months of the diet, the average BMI of the group was reduced from 32.1 to 29.2. The memory test was conducted again after the 6 month diet plan. The results of the second were recorded to be better than the previous one, hence proving that weight loss or rather losing excessive fat can account for improvement in memory.

There is no dearth of researches that show that excessive body weight can be a severe impediment to your everyday thinking capabilities and memory. The young may not be at an immediate risk but at the same time they cannot escape the danger that is looming in the future for them if they do not take the necessary steps to correct their body weight.

 

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