An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The brains of people who are obese or overweight appear to have aged an extra 10 years compared to their lean peers from middle age onwards, brain scanning research has revealed. The difference, scientists say, corresponds to a greater shrinkage in the volume of white matter, although they don’t know the cause. It might be down to genes causing both brain-shrinking and obesity, or it could be that changes occurring in the brain lead to overeating. Either way, it does not appear to affect cognitive performance. White matter is tissue, composed of nerve fibers, that aids communication between different regions of the brain. The volume of white matter in a human brain increases during youth and then decreases with age for both lean people and those who are overweight or obese. But researchers have discovered that this shrinkage differs depending on a subject’s BMI. “The overall message is that brains basically appear to be 10 years older if you are overweight or obese,” said Lisa Ronan, first author of the study from the University of Cambridge. Despite a higher BMI being linked to a smaller volume of white matter, it did not appear to have any link to mental prowess, with no difference seen between lean and overweight or obese participants when they were subjected to IQ tests. Scientists from the University of Cambridge and Yale University have published their findings in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
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