A new study from the University of Sheffield has discovered that being overweight is additional trouble for brain health and may aggravate Alzheimer’s disease. The groundbreaking multimodal neuroimaging research revealed that obesity might contribute to neural tissue weakening while keeping a healthy weight in mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia could help maintain brain structure.
The discoveries were published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports and also emphasize the effect of being overweight in mid-life on brain health in older age.
Prevention is Crucial
“More than 50 million people are thought to be living with Alzheimer’s disease, and despite decades of groundbreaking studies and a huge global research effort, we still don’t have a cure for this cruel disease,” lead author of the study, Professor Annalena Venneri from the University of Sheffield’s Neuroscience Institute and NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre, said.
Prevention plays a crucial role in the fight against the condition. Diseases that cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, slowly develop in the background for many years before they surface.
Researchers involved in the study have examined MRI brain scans of 47 patients clinically diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia, 68 patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment, and 57 cognitively healthy individuals. The research used three supplementary, computational methods to look at the brain’s anatomy, blood flow, and the brain’s fibers.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
The team then compared numerous brain images and calculated the differences in local concentrations of brain tissues to analyze the volume of the grey matter, white matter integrity, cerebral blood flow, and obesity.
In patients with mild dementia, a positive link was found between grey matter volume and obesity around the right temporoparietal junction. This shows that obesity might be a factor in advancing neutral vulnerability in cognitively healthy individuals and those suffering from mild cognitive impairment.
The research also discovered that maintaining a healthy weight in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia could help retain brain structure while aging and losing weight because of the disease.