Obesity, metabolic factors linked to faster cognitive decline

August 20, 2012

People who are obese and also have high blood pressure and other risk factors called metabolic abnormalities may experience a faster decline in their cognitive skills over time than others, according to a study published in the August 21, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Metabolic abnormality was defined as having two or more of the following risk factors: high blood pressure or taking medication for it; low HDL or "good" cholesterol; or taking diabetes medication; and high triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) or taking medication to .

The study involved 6,401 people with an average age 50 at the start of the study. Information on (BMI) and the risk factors was gathered at the beginning of the study. The participants took tests on memory and other cognitive skills three times over the next 10 years.

A total of 31 percent of the participants had two or more . Nine percent were obese and 38 percent were overweight. Of the 582 obese people, 350, or 60 percent, met the criteria for metabolic abnormality. The metabolically normal obese individuals also experienced more .

Over the 10 years of the study, people who were both obese and metabolically abnormal experienced a 22.5 percent faster decline on their cognitive test scores than those who were of normal weight without metabolic abnormalities.

"More research is needed to look at the effects of genetic factors and also to take into account how long people have been obese and how long they have had these metabolic risk factors and also to look at cognitive test scores spanning adulthood to give us a better understanding of the link between obesity and cognitive function, such as thinking, reasoning and memory," said study author Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD, of INSERM, the French research institute in Paris and University College London in England.

Singh-Manoux said the study also provides evidence against the concept of "metabolically healthy obesity" that has suggested that obese people without metabolic risk factors do not show negative cardiac and cognitive results compared to obese people with .

Explore further: Obesity not always protective following surgery

Related Stories

Obesity not always protective following surgery

April 18, 2011
Obese patients with high blood pressure and diabetes are at much higher risk for major complications following non-cardiac surgery compared to otherwise healthy obese patients and patients of normal weight.

Liver, belly fat may identify high risks of heart disease in obese people

July 21, 2011
Obese people with high levels of abdominal fat and liver fat may face increased risks for heart disease and other serious health problems, according to research published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: ...

Recommended for you

Our memory shifts into high gear when we think about raising our children, new study shows

December 15, 2017
Human memory has evolved so people better recall events encountered while they are thinking about raising their offspring, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New ...

Offbeat brain rhythms during sleep make older adults forget

December 15, 2017
Like swinging a tennis racket during a ball toss to serve an ace, slow and speedy brainwaves during deep sleep must sync up at exactly the right moment to hit the save button on new memories, according to new UC Berkeley ...

Study finds graspable objects grab attention more than images of objects do

December 15, 2017
Does having the potential to act upon an object have a unique influence on behavior and brain responses to the object? That is the question Jacqueline Snow, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno, ...

Little understood cell helps mice see color

December 14, 2017
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered that color vision in mice is far more complex than originally thought, opening the door to experiments that could potentially lead to new treatments ...

Scientists chart how brain signals connect to neurons

December 14, 2017
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have used supercomputers to create an atomic scale map that tracks how the signaling chemical glutamate binds to a neuron in the brain. The findings, say the scientists, shed light on the dynamic ...

Activating MSc glutamatergic neurons found to cause mice to eat less

December 13, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers working at the State University of New York has found that artificially stimulating neurons that exist in the medial septal complex in mouse brains caused test mice to eat less. In ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.