Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Obesity May Accelerate Brain Aging 289

natehoy writes "According to the US News and World Report, a recent study has shown a link between obesity and the loss of neurological tissue. The brains of elderly patients who were obese had on average 8% less tissue than their trimmer counterparts. Overweight patients had brains lighter by about 4%. This could have implications for the onset of dementia illnesses such as Alzheimer's. Just one more risk factor to add to the growing body (no pun intended) of reasons to try and stay trim."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Obesity May Accelerate Brain Aging

Comments Filter:
  • by brian0918 ( 638904 ) <> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:43PM (#29206829)
    This should be obvious. There is already a clear understanding of the cause of obesity via carbohydrate consumption, combined with the effects of said consumption on the production of advanced glycation endproducts [] (AGEs) in the brain, and their effect on cognitive function.
  • Best Reason So Far (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Metal_Demon ( 694989 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:45PM (#29206859)
    I have been overweight for over ten years now and this is the best reason to slim down I've heard yet. I take a great deal of pride in my intelligence, so anything that puts it at risk can not be tolerated.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:00PM (#29207071) Homepage Journal

    drink more than thin people (getting shit on regularly can have that effect on people)

    I haven't seen that to be the case; I don't see more fat people in bars than I do on the street. In fact, there are a higher percentage of fat people where I work than in my favorite bar, although that's probably because most of the people at work sit at a desk, while my favorite bar's clientelle is mostly construction workers.

    and have crappier jobs than their normal-sized counterparts

    The ones with the crappiest jobs usually are doing physical labor, and as such are generally a lot more fit than the average slashdotter, whether he's a skinny nerd or a fat nerd.

    Why don't we just say that fat people are worse than Hitler and be done with it?

    Gee, this early in the thread and Godwin has been invoked? I wish overweight people would be less self conscious about themselves. Except women -- "you're getting too skinny" can get you laid! I'm all for fat women, they're easier to seduce than hotties.

    You know, the way we've already done with anyone who dares smoke anything other than marijuana (which is somehow magically good for you)

    Actually, there have been studies showing benefits to potsmoking, including a greatly reduced risk of cancer among those who also smoke tobacco.

    or who eats meat

    Come on now, it's only a tiny but vocal minority against carnivorousness. Join PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

    or who drives an SUV

    OK, you got me there. Driving an SUV is an almost sure sign of a reduced intellect. They cost more to drive than any other class of vehicle, and more people die in them per passsenger mile than any other type of vehicle due to their poor handling and braking and high center of gravity and lack of crumple zones. SUV drivers drive badly not from lack of driving skill but because their vehicles suck. Plus, ask an SUV driver why they have it and they'll say "it carries so many passengers", but notice SUVs on the road and you'll see very few with more than the driver. If you carry passengers, get a minivan -- more passengers, better mileage, and they're the safest vehicles on the road.

    But in the end, you have to die from something. When my grandmother was 95 she said to me "I don't know why people want to live to be a hindred, it ain't no fun bein' old!"

    She was overweight when I was a kid, but when she reached her mid seventies or early eighties she started losing weight. Her mind was sharp as a tack until the day she died (at age 99).

  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:10PM (#29207253) Journal

    Eh? I'm overweight and see my doctor regularly for various things. He has never once harassed me about my weight.

    In fact only one Doctor ever has. Of course I didn't put much stock in his diagnosis when, after suffering flu like symptoms for a month, no appetite, fever etc... He said I just had a cold. Then prescribed antibiotics for said cold.

    I've also had two alcoholic drinks in the last 18 months.

    You're making an awful lot of generalizations there. And the overweight people I know do not fall into the "woe is me" category. In fact the only alcoholics I've ever known were thin people.

    Of course I live in a country where how much money I make has no bearing on the quality of healthcare I receive.

    I do agree with the rest though. I mean this week we've had this nonsense, with a whole 94 people studied to come to this grand conclusion that because I'm overweight my brain is going to fall apart. (To be honest I'd rather lose my memory and think it's the 1980's than be aware of my failing body and how all my friends are dead)

    There's also the "SUGAR IS GOING TO KILL YOU" study from a day or two ago.

    A week or two back it was gamers aren't adolescents but sad depressive loners in their 30's, a study which only surveyed people 19 years of age or older in the pacific northwest where, according to people I know who live there, it rains all the time and people tend to be miserable as sin.

    Reminds me of the old adage: "Giving up smoking, drinking and eating bad food doesn't make you live longer. It just feels like it."

    Mencken once said that puritanism is the fear that someone, somewhere, is happy. Instead of persecuting for sex like you said (immoral behavior) they now do it via health.

    I've always said to people that my body is a temple... To a long dead religion.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:20PM (#29207425) Homepage

    Well, the danger of these kinds of correlation studies is that you have no idea what the relationship is.

    Maybe people who have brain degeneration are prone to eating more food, thus becoming obese? In that case getting them to eat less won't fix their brains because you have it the wrong way around.

    Likewise, just why is it that SO many people are overweight? Is the present generation just collectively lacking in willpower? Sure, you can shout at people to go on a diet, but they've been doing that for the last 20 years and I don't see much to show for it. There has to be an underlying cause. I don't pretend to know what it is - maybe it is high-fructose corn syrup, or maybe obesity is cross-linked to genes that give computer proficiency and we've been selecting for it. My point is that while it is true that eating more = weight gain, why is it that people are eating so much more today?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:02PM (#29208095)

    I know why pot smoking along with tabacoo reduces cancer. As a result of being outside of the city and not having a car, I ran out of cigarettes for about 5 days a couple months back. I smoked butt tabacoo out of a weed pipe (a heavily used one) and noticed something kind of stange. When resin and tar combine they form a nearly chalk like substance that dries and turns to dust quickly. Suffice to say my pipe was cleaner than it had ever been since buying it, and when i ran out of weed for a few days after that i nearly cried at the lack of resin, then found the motivation to walk a couple miles for a pack of cigarettes :)

  • by mutualrecursion ( 1625757 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @07:28PM (#29210131)

    Keep in mind that lower weights are correlated with Alzheimer's. (In a separate comment--sorry--I complained that the current study introduces bias by excluding people who already showed signs of dementia.)


    "The September 2005 study, which stemmed from longitudinal research done on the aging process in 820 members of the Catholic clergy since 1993, found that a decrease in BMI significantly increased the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease. Even maintaining the same BMI was linked to a significantly increased chance of developing the disease compared to those seniors who experienced an increase in BMI."

    So, if you are older, think twice before dieting for the purpose of "helping" your brain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @08:44PM (#29210799)

    *It takes a lot of effort to eat less*

    only on a bad diet. bad diet being defined as hormonally imbalanced.

    i'm on a diet (for life, mind you, i never want to go back to the crap i ate before!) that is a more advanced version of harvard medical school's joslin diabetes center' 2005 nutritional guidelines. i'm basically never hungry, unless i stray from my dietary guidelines,.as i lost nearly 1 lb of excess fat a week. i dropped over 25 lbs and my low total weight was 155.5 lbs as a just over 5'10" man. just over a year later, i'm now 167 lbs - on the same diet modified a bit for pure muscle mass gains. i have flat abs and they look better in my mid 40s than when i was 17 and ran cross country (yeah, i sucked)!

    i'm having a blast working to achieve *all time* bests in strength, speed and endurance.

    my energy is dramatically better than ever before, i've tripled my previous record for not calling into work sick with a cold (30 months and counting!), my blood work is ridiculously good (TG/HDL well below 1.0), blood pressure is good, BPM in the low 50s (down from 80) and my life long allergy problems have just disappeared.

    the problem most people face is their diet is hormonally unbalanced and pro inflammatory. Good luck fighting your hormones - especially if you aren't genetically gifted.

    the good news is that the latest research has revealed a hormonally balanced, anti-inflammatory diet that provides amazing results.

    the world's heaviest man, manuel uribe, has lost over 500 lbs in about 3.5 years. in addition, he's lost his hunger and his depression, too. he's not hungry on about 6% of what he used to eat (2k calories compared to 30k+ calories).

    quick hints:

    1. throw away veggie oil and use olive oil. omega 6 fatty acids act as a substrate for pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.
    2. eat lean meat and minimize egg yolks. saturated fat and egg yolks are chalk full of omega 6s.
    3. supplement with fish oil (2.5g epa+dha is a great place to start for most people).
    4. eat fruits and veggies for your carbohydrate. eat moderate carbs (about 2 apples worth for a typical man and 1.5 for a typical woman). too many carbs over stimulates insulin which activates an enzyme that drives cellular inflammation when combined with omega 6 fatty acids (this is the smoking gun that links obesity to chronic disease (ultimately caused by excessive cellular inflammation).
    5. eat monounsaturated fatsnuts, guacamole and olive oil in moderation.

    the results are real - high risk groups developed 83% less diabetes than low risk groups based on following this kind of diet. []

    no drug can touch 10% of that outcome.

  • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @10:09PM (#29211431) Journal

    The trick I found was to stop looking at all the "beautiful people" and just look at myself. Me at 270 looked better than me at 280. 260 was getting downright sexy (OK, I exaggerate, no I outright lie, but anyway)...

    Every few pounds was a struggle, but at the end I could look at a picture of myself a few pounds ago and say "Ugh! At least I'm better than that!"

    In the end, I lost about 70 pounds, and it took me the better part of a year. And it was a tough year, full of triumphs and tragedies, hard work, failures, and successes.

    But now I can jog, I can ride my bike 15 miles each way to work, I can kayak for miles. I can do so many things I simply couldn't. I know the long time I was very heavy will have long-term consequences I'll have to deal with later, but I'm healthy NOW.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.