Relationships between gray matter, body mass index, and waist circumference in healthy adults

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California. .
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 5.97). 07/2013; 34(7). DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22021
Source: PubMed


Obesity and overweight are often defined by the body mass index (BMI), which associates with metabolic and cardiovascular disease, and possibly with dementia as well as variations in brain volume. However, body fat distribution and abdominal obesity (as measured by waist circumference) is more strongly correlated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk than is BMI. While prior studies have revealed negative associations between gray matter tissue volumes and BMI, the relationship with respect to waist circumference remains largely unexplored. We therefore investigated the effects of both BMI and waist circumference on local gray matter volumes in a group of 115 healthy subjects screened to exclude physical or mental disorders that might affect the central nervous system. Results revealed significant negative correlations for both BMI and waist circumference where regional gray matter effects were largest within the hypothalamus and further encompassed prefrontal, anterior temporal and inferior parietal cortices, and the cerebellum. However, associations were more widespread and pronounced for waist circumference than BMI. Follow-up analyses showed that these relationships differed significantly across gender. While associations were similar for both BMI and waist circumference for males, females showed more extensive correlations for waist circumference. Our observations suggest that waist circumference is a more sensitive indicator than BMI, particularly in females, for potentially determining the adverse effects of obesity and overweight on the brain and associated risks to health. Hum Brain Mapp , 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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    • "Obesity is also known to impact cerebral structure. Among a sample of 115 healthy adults, higher BMI and waist circumference inversely correlated with grey matter volume of the hypothalamus , prefrontal, anterior temporal and inferior parietal cortices, and the cerebellum (Kurth et al., 2013). Widespread grey matter volume reductions have also been linked with obesity and/or greater visceral adipose tissue in young (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: This review paper will discuss the recent literature examining the relationship between obesity and neurocognitive outcomes, with a particular focus on cognitive changes after bariatric surgery. Obesity is now recognized as an independent risk factor for adverse neurocognitive outcomes, and severely obese persons appear to be at even greater risk. Bariatric surgery is associated with rapid improvements in cognitive function that persist for at least several years, although the mechanisms underlying these improvements are incompletely understood. Assessment of cognitive impairment in bariatric surgery patients is challenging, and improved methods are needed, as poorer performance on neuropsychological tests of memory and executive function leads to poorer clinical weight outcomes. In addition to its clinical importance, further study in this area will provide key insight into obesity-related cognitive dysfunction and clarify the possibility of an obesity paradox for neurological outcomes. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
    European Eating Disorders Review 08/2015; DOI:10.1002/erv.2393 · 2.46 Impact Factor
    • "While some studies report widespread cortical thinning in obesity (Taki et al., 2008), the majority point to reduced frontal cortical gray matter volumes being specifically associated with increased BMI, thereby implicating the hedonic regulatory system (Walther et al., 2010; Marques-Iturria et al., 2013; Kurth et al., 2013; Brooks et al., 2013). For subcortical regions, several studies conducted in obese and non-obese healthy subjects found an association between increased body mass and reduced hypothalamic or ventral diencephalic (DC) volume, suggesting involvement of the homeostatic system (Marques-Iturria et al., 2013; Kurth et al., 2013; Ha et al., 2013). We investigated whether morphological changes occurred in brain regions associated with homeostatic and hedonic food intake regulation during acute antipsychotic treatment, and if so, whether they were related to changes in body weight and metabolic profiles. "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated whether morphological brain changes occurred in brain regions associated with body-weight homeostasis during acute antipsychotic treatment, and if so, whether they were related to changes in body mass and metabolic profile. Twenty-two antipsychotic-naive patients with first-episode schizophrenia received either risperidone long acting injection or flupenthixol decanoate over 13 weeks and were compared by structural MRI with 23 matched healthy volunteers at weeks 0, 4 and 13. Images were reconstructed using freesurfer fully-automated whole brain segmentation. The ventral diencephalon and prefrontal cortex were selected to represent the homeostatic and hedonic food intake regulatory systems respectively. Body mass was measured at weeks 0, 7 and 13 and fasting glucose and lipid profiles at weeks 0 and 13. Linear mixed effect models indicated significant group(⁎)time interactions for the ventral diencephalon volumes bilaterally. Ventral diencephalon volume reduction was strongly correlated bilaterally with body mass increase and HDL-cholesterol reductions, and unilaterally with blood glucose elevation. There were no significant changes in prefrontal cortical thickness. These findings implicate the ventral diencephalon, of which the hypothalamus is the main component, in the acute adipogenic and dyslipidaemic effects of antipsychotic medication. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 07/2015; 233(2). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.06.014 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Even independent of BMI, we were able to show that increasing VAT was related to reduced cortical thickness mainly in the temporal cortex and the mid-insular region. Concomitantly , volumetric reductions in gray matter volume of temporal areas have been repeatedly shown in obese adults (Karlsson et al., 2013; Kurth et al., 2013; Weise et al., 2013). Interestingly, in type 2 diabetes patients reduced cortical thickness was also identified in the medial temporal cortex (Brundel et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Structural brain imaging studies have shown that obesity is associated with widespread reductions in gray matter (GM) volume. Although the body mass index (BMI) is an easily accessible anthropometric measure, substantial health problems are more related to specific body fat compartments, like visceral adipose tissue (VAT). We investigated cortical thickness measures in a group of 72 healthy subjects (BMI range 20–35 kg/m2, age range 19–50 years). Multiple regression analyses were performed using VAT and BMI as predictors and age, gender, total surface area and education as confounds. BMI and VAT were independently associated with reductions in cortical thickness in clusters comprising the left lateral occipital area, the left inferior temporal cortex, and the left precentral and inferior parietal area, while the right insula, the left fusiform gyrus and the right inferior temporal area showed a negative correlation with VAT only. In addition, we could show significant reductions in cortical thickness with increasing VAT adjusted for BMI in the left temporal cortex. We were able to detect widespread cortical thinning in a young to middle-aged population related to BMI and VAT; these findings show close resemblance to studies focusing on GM volume differences in diabetic patients. This may point to the influence of VAT related adverse effects, like low-grade inflammation, as a potentially harmful factor in brain integrity already in individuals at risk of developing diabetes, metabolic syndromes and arteriosclerosis.
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