According to recent data, rates of obesity are over 35% in some states. In other states, they are around 20-30% of the population. More than two-thirds of the adult American population is obese or overweight. Along with being overweight or obese, come many negative health risks. Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, are just a few of the conditions an overweight person is more likely to develop.
Maintaining a healthy weight is very important for our health, both mentally and physically. A recent study that we have summarized below found a connection between obesity and memory-impairment. Now that is another reason you should keep your weight at a healthy number – to stave off dementia in your old age. Along with a nutritious diet, regular physical activity daily and some quality supplements to help boost your energy and weight loss journey, you will be in good shape. Sulbutiamine is a nootropic that boosts energy levels and increases mental drive – perfect for that extra motivation you need to get to gym.
It is possible that your weight could be contributing to your cognitive decline. In fact, carrying a substantial amount of extra weight could be increasing your chances of getting dementia at an older age.
A recent study at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that there is a link between obesity and cognitive decline. Researchers set out to look at how obesity makes our memories worse and the underlying neurological mechanisms driving this process. They looked at the genetic changes in the brain and found that these changes deregulates memory-associated genes.
The study which was published in January 2016 in the Journal of Neuroscience conducted an experiment with obese rats and looked at research already conducted to come to their conclusion. Experiments with the obese rats proved that the gene in the hippocampus was altered.
For some time, scientists and researchers in the field suspected that epigenetic dysregulation in the neurons of the hippocampus is linked to obesity. Past studies in the field linked the creation of long-term memory to changes in the DNA. These molecular changes in DNA are thought to play a significant role in promoting or suppressing memory formation. This occurs through their ability to increase or reduce the expression of genes that help brain neurons create new synaptic connections.
In this experiment, researchers were able to see this process at work in the expression of memory-associated genes in the brains of obese mice. The changes in genes were associated with diminished object location spatial memory in the obese mice, meaning their memories declined. One particular gene – SIRT1 significantly decreased. This study provides the first evidence that high-fat-diet-induced obesity leads to genetic modifications within the hippocampus and corresponds with a reduction in the expression of various memory-related genes.
At 20 weeks, the obese mice showed impaired performance in memory-related tests. Object location memory tests were used to test cognitive decline. Findings found that four memory-associated genes showed significant decreased gene expression at 23 weeks of diet-induced obesity. They also found diminished protein expression of SIRT1 in the hippocampus. Results showed that obesity weighs down memory through a mechanism involving neuroepigenentic dysregulation of SIRT1.
Other studies have looked at obesity and cognitive decline as well. In one study, it was found that those aged 40-45 who were obese, had a 74% increased risk of dementia, a study which looked at 10,276 participants. In another study of 2,223 healthy workers, it was found that a higher body-mass index (BMI) was correlated with lower cognitive scores. Another study of around 8,500 twin individuals aged 65 and up, showed that being overweight or obese in their mid-life, around age 43, increased their risk of dementia later.
What do you think of this study’s findings? Is it surprising?