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Tests. Obesity and Alzheimer’s – cause similar changes in the brain

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‘We have shown that there is a similarity between the brains of obese people and people with Alzheimer’s disease,’ say researchers from McGill University in Montreal. They analyzed more than 1,300 brain scans and the results of their research have just been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As co-author of the study, Filip Morys, commented on the results of the study, the observed changes can be “due to (decrease – ed.) the thickness of the cerebral cortex”, which is responsible for brain functions such as speech, perception, long-term memory and judgement. Previous studies focusing on the relationship between increased body weight and neurodegenerative diseases have already shown that obesity can contribute to damage to the brain’s blood vessels or the deposition of abnormal proteins in the brain, and thus increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The work of scientists from McGill University, however, sheds new light on the connection between the two diseases.

SEE ALSO: Blood test instead of tomography or MRI. A new method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease has been developed

Brain changes

For the study, researchers from a Canadian university analyzed a total of 1,364 brain scans. Of these, 341 were Alzheimer’s patients, and another 341 were obese people with a BMI greater than or equal to 30. The remaining 682 scans were from healthy participants who constituted the control group. Comparing all the images, it was possible to find a similarity between the changes in the brain occurring among subjects with Alzheimer’s and those with excessive body weight. In both cases, there was thinning (thinning) in the areas of the brain responsible for judgment, memory and learning.

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During the next stage of the study, the researchers asked participants to solve tests to check their mental performance. In their case, obese people did not show significant deficits. However, as Filip Morys points out, there is a possibility that the changes in cognitive abilities resulting from the thinning of the cerebral cortex, which the scans showed, may be too subtle for similar tests to pick them up.

“The study showed us something we didn’t know before,” Sabrina Diano of Columbia University Irving Medical Center told NBC News. However, the scientist added that a relationship similar to that shown in the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease can also be observed in laboratory mice. – If a mouse that has a genetic predisposition to develop Alzheimer’s is given a diet rich in carbohydrates and fats – similar to the Western diet – with an increase in body weight, increasing cognitive impairment of the animal, as well as accelerated degeneration of its brain, Diano explained.

Alzheimer’s diseasePAP/DPA

SEE ALSO: Two surprising reasons for obesity. The scientist gives “cheap, easy and healthy ways” to prevent it

NBC News, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Main photo source: sxc.hu

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