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Obesity associated with Brain Degeneration among Older People

Posted Sep 01 2009 4:20pm

New research from University of California, Los Angeles reveals that older obese people have brains that appear 16 years older than their peers who are of a healthy weight.

Researchers examined the brains of 94 individuals aged 70-79. Overweight seniors had roughly 4% less brain tissue, and their brains aged prematurely by eight years. Meanwhile, obese seniors has 8% brain matter loss, which researchers called "severe brain degeneration." These brains looked 16 years older than those of thinner individuals. Much of the brain loss was found in the frontal and temporal lobes, which control planning and memory. Other areas of brain matter loss included the hippocampus, which is associated with long-term memory, and the basil ganglia, which helps control movement.

The World Health Organization estimates a combined 1.3 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese.

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