Brain Structure and Obesity

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 5.97). 11/2009; 31(3):353-64. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20870
Source: PubMed


Obesity is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular health problems including diabetes, hypertension, and stroke. These cardiovascular afflictions increase risk for cognitive decline and dementia, but it is unknown whether these factors, specifically obesity and Type II diabetes, are associated with specific patterns of brain atrophy. We used tensor-based morphometry (TBM) to examine gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volume differences in 94 elderly subjects who remained cognitively normal for at least 5 years after their scan. Bivariate analyses with corrections for multiple comparisons strongly linked body mass index (BMI), fasting plasma insulin (FPI) levels, and Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM2) with atrophy in frontal, temporal, and subcortical brain regions. A multiple regression model, also correcting for multiple comparisons, revealed that BMI was still negatively correlated with brain atrophy (FDR <5%), while DM2 and FPI were no longer associated with any volume differences. In an Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) model controlling for age, gender, and race, obese subjects with a high BMI (BMI > 30) showed atrophy in the frontal lobes, anterior cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, and thalamus compared with individuals with a normal BMI (18.5-25). Overweight subjects (BMI: 25-30) had atrophy in the basal ganglia and corona radiata of the WM. Overall brain volume did not differ between overweight and obese persons. Higher BMI was associated with lower brain volumes in overweight and obese elderly subjects. Obesity is therefore associated with detectable brain volume deficits in cognitively normal elderly subjects.

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Available from: Alex Leow, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "Recent work indicates that elderly women with high BMIs have greater temporal lobe atrophy -a fact that might explain the increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in this population (Gunstad et al., 2008). However, even in elderly males and females who do not have cognitive impairments, high fat tissue may have an adverse effect on brain structure leading to subsequent atrophy and dementia (Hassing et al., 2009; Raji et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: The prevalence of obesity has been steadily increasing and is a major worldwide public health problem. It is associated with multiple medical and psychological conditions and recent research supports a link to several cognitive deficit domains, including executive functioning. The aim of this article is to describe socio-demographic, clinical and neuropsychological characteristics of a sample of candidates for bariatric surgery (BS) and to compare their performance with normative values. Method: Between May 2012 and May 2013 we evaluated the neuropsychological performance of 42 patient candidates for BS at the Morbid Obesity Consultation at Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN). Results: The population was predominantly female and education was equally distributed between basic, secondary and tertiary levels. The neuropsychological results showed a significant decrease on Recall (p < .01), Learning (p < .10), Nonverbal Memory (p < .001), Cognitive Flexibility (p < .01) and Resistance to Interference (p < .05). Conclusion: Despite the limitations inherent to a small sample, the results obtained in the Portuguese population coincide with those of earlier studies; namely that obesity differentially effects instrumental functions.
    • "Obesity has been linked to multiple physical health problems (Bastien, Poirier, Lemieux, & Despr es, 2014; Gower & Casazza, 2013). In addition, BMI > 30 has been recently associated with an atrophy of certain brain areas (Pannacciulli et al., 2006; Raji et al., 2010) and reduced cerebral volumes (Gunstad et al., 2008; Taki et al., 2008). It is therefore not surprising the association between obesity and cognitive deficits (Sellbom & Gunstad, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: We aim to analyze the effects of an 8-month physical activity intervention on cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index (BMI), and vigilance performance in an adult obese population. We conducted an 8-month physical activity intervention based on dance and rhythmic activities. The weekly frequency was 2 sessions of 1 hr per day. Training sessions were divided into 3 phases: a 10-min warm-up, 40 min of dance and rhythmic activities, and 10 min to cool-down. To assess cardiorespiratory fitness, participants performed a modified version of the 6-min walk test from the Senior Fitness Test battery (Larsson & Mattsson, 2001; Rikli & Jones, 1999). Vigilance performance was measured by means of the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT). Two measurements were performed immediately before and after the intervention. The results revealed that participants improved their cardiorespiratory fitness, BMI, and vigilance performance after the intervention. All in all, findings contribute new empirical evidence to the field that investigates the benefits of physical activity intervention on cognitive processes in obese population.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 03/2015; 47(6):1-7. DOI:10.1080/00222895.2015.1012580 · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Accordingly, findings have suggested a negative association between childhood obesity and components of cognitive control; including inhibition (Kamijo, Kahn, et al., 2012; Kamijo, Pontifex, et al., 2012), working memory (Li et al., 2008), and cognitive flexibility (Cserjési et al., 2007; Lokken et al., 2009). Further, findings from a number of recent neuroimaging studies have indicated negative associations between BMI and gray matter volume in neural areas sub-serving aspects of cognitive control in adult populations (Maayan, Hoogendoorn, Sweat, & Convit, 2011; Raji et al., 2010). Interestingly, lower-levels of aerobic fitness have also been previously found to be associated with decreased cognitive performance across a variety of tasks, with a selectively greater deficit for aspects of cognitive control (Chaddock, Hillman et al., 2012; Hillman, Buck, Themanson, Pontifex, & Castelli, 2009; Kamijo et al., 2011; Pontifex et al., 2011; but see Hillman et al., 2008 for review). "
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    ABSTRACT: With the increasing prevalence of sedentary behaviors during childhood, a greater understanding of the extent to which excess adiposity and aerobic fitness relate to cognitive health is of increasing importance. To date, however, the vast majority of research in this area has focused on adiposity or fitness, rather than the possible inter-relationship, as it relates to cognition. Accordingly, this study examined the differential associations between body composition, aerobic fitness, and cognitive control in a sample of 204 (96 female) preadolescent children. Participants completed a modified flanker task (i.e., inhibition) and a switch task (i.e., cognitive flexibility) to assess two aspects of cognitive control. Findings from this study indicate that fitness and adiposity appear to be separable factors as they relate to cognitive control, given that the interaction of fitness and adiposity was observed to be nonsignificant for both the flanker and switch tasks. Fitness exhibited an independent association with both inhibition and cognitive flexibility whereas adiposity exhibited an independent association only with cognitive flexibility. These results suggest that while childhood obesity and fitness appear to both be related to cognitive control, they may be differentially associated with its component processes.
    Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 12/2014; 79(4). DOI:10.1111/mono.12131 · 5.50 Impact Factor
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