Scientists have found that the more weight an individual gains, the less blood will flow to the person’s brain.
According to findings of the new study, published in the ‘Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,’ slowed blood flow to the brain can dramatically increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly. Schizophrenia is characterised by thoughts or experi- ences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganised speech or behaviour and decreased participation in daily activities. Difficulty with concentration and memory may also be present.
On its part, bipolar disorder is associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other diseases, according to the United States (US) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D. used computerised tomography to measure blood flow and brain activity in 17,000 individuals. He and his research team found striking patterns of reduced blood flow in the brains of people who were overweight and obese compared to those of normal weight. In particular, the parts of the brain most associated with Alzheimer’s disease were affected.
The ‘Newmax’ reported: “Dr. Amen and his collaborators provide compelling evidence that obesity alters blood supply to the brain to shrink the brain and promote Alzheimer’s disease.”
“This is a major advance because it directly demonstrates how the brain responds to our body.”
Similarly, the study also highlighted the importance in intervention programmes to target obesity in younger populations to ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
“One of the most important lessons we have learned through 30 years of performing functional brain imaging studies is that brains can be improved when you put them in a healthy environment by adopting brain-health habits, such as a healthy caloriesmart diet and regular exercise,” said Amen.