Body Weight Has a Surprisingly Alarming Impact on Brain Function
One of the largest studies linking obesity with brain dysfunction, scientists analyzed over 35,000 functional neuroimaging scans from 17,000 individuals to measure blood flow and brain activity.
As a person's weight goes up, all regions of the brain go down in activity and blood flow.
Low cerebral blood flow is the #1 brain imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease. It is also associated with depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, addiction, suicide, and other conditions. “This study shows that being overweight or obese seriously impacts brain activity and increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease as well as many other psychiatric and cognitive conditions.”
Across all weight categories, striking patterns of progressively reduced blood flow were found in virtually all regions of the brain (especially the brain areas vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease). Acceptance that Alzheimer’s disease is another lifestyle disease is the most important breakthrough of the decade. This is compelling evidence that obesity alters blood supply, shrinking the brain and promoting Alzheimer’s disease.
One of the most important lessons from 30 years of brain imaging studies is that brains can be improved when you put them in a healing environment, with a healthy diet and regular exercise.