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

ABSTRACT 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.

2 Reads
  • Source
    • "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). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    Clinical neuroimaging 09/2014; 6. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2014.09.013 · 2.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Second, BMI is only a rough measure of body fat. Recent VBM studies have shown the complexity of obesity-related brain abnormalities (Kurth et al. 2012; Weise et al. 2013) and the resulting limitation of BMI as a surrogate of obesity. Third, the present study only looked at the GMV. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Overweight and obesity are rapidly becoming a central public health challenge around the world. Previous studies have suggested that elevated Body Mass Index (BMI) might be associated with structural changes in both gray and white matter, but this association is still not well understood. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between BMI and brain structure with a relatively large sample of young adults (N = 336) in a small age range (20 ± 1 years). Voxel-based morphometry results showed significant negative correlations between BMI and gray-matter volumes in the midcingulate cortex (MCC), left orbital frontal cortex, and left ventromedial prefrontal cortex. There was also a significant negative correlation between BMI and white matter integrity as indexed by fractional anisotropy in bilateral cingulum. Further tractography analysis showed a significant negative correlation between BMI and the number of fibers passing the MCC region. Regression analysis showed that gray matter and white matter in these regions both contributed to the variance of BMI. These results remained significant even when analysis was restricted to the subjects with normal weights. Finally, we found that decision-making ability (as assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task) mediated the association between the structure of the MCC (a region responsible for impulse control and decision making) and BMI. These results shed light on the structural neural basis of weight variations.
    Brain Structure and Function 10/2013; 220(1). DOI:10.1007/s00429-013-0657-9 · 5.62 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (2013), Interestingly, converging evidence from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies suggests a relation between body-mass index (BMI) and brain frontal cortex morphology in lean-to-obese samples, with the great majority of results pointing to negative correlations between BMI and gray matter volumes in frontal regions, including the following: inferior frontal gyrus (Taki et al., 2008; Walther et al., 2010; Kurth et al., 2013), orbitofrontal cortex (Raji et al., 2010; Walther et al., 2010; Kurth et al., 2013), frontal pole (Kurth et al., 2013), precentral gyrus (Taki et al., 2008; Walther et al., 2010), and superior frontal gyrus (Taki et al., 2008; Kurth et al., 2013). Moreover, Yokum et al. (2012) reported trend-level reduced gray matter volume in superior frontal gyrus and middle frontal gyrus, related to future BMI increases. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Obesity depends on homeostatic and hedonic food intake behavior, mediated by brain plasticity changes in cortical and subcortical structures. The aim of this study was to investigate cortical thickness and subcortical volumes of regions related to food intake behavior in a healthy young adult sample with obesity. Thirty-seven volunteers, 19 with obesity (age=33.7±5.7 (20–39) years body-mass index (BMI)=36.08±5.92 (30.10–49.69)kg/m2) and 18 controls (age=32.3±5.9 (21–40) years; BMI=22.54±1.94 (19.53–24.97)kg/m2) participated in the study. Patients with neuropsychiatric or biomedical disorders were excluded. We used FreeSurfer software to analyze structural magnetic resonance images (MRI) and obtain global brain measures, cortical thickness and subcortical volume estimations. Finally, correlation analyses were performed for brain structure data and obesity measures. There were no between-group differences in age, gender, intelligence or education. Results showed cortical thickness reductions in obesity in the left superior frontal and right medial orbitofrontal cortex. In addition, the obesity group had lower ventral diencephalon and brainstem volumes than controls, while there were no differences in any other subcortical structure. There were no statistically significant correlations between brain structure and obesity measures. Overall, our work provides evidence of the structural brain characteristics associated with metabolically normal obesity. We found reductions in cortical thickness, ventral diencephalon and brainstem volumes in areas that have been implicated in food intake behavior.
    Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 09/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.06.004 · 2.42 Impact Factor
Show more

Florian Kurth