The findings, by Veronica Witte and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Human and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, might help to explain why overweight and obese people face a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia in later life.
They brain-scanned almost 3,000 adults and got them to complete a series of cognitive tests. They found that being overweight seemed to alter the structure of the brain. Basically people with a higher BMI score or a broader waist to to hips comparison had less brain tissue and performed worse in quick-thinking tests.
They can’t prove that obesity changes the brain as they didn’t do a study over a long period and it could be that as people lose white matter in their brains they also lose some control functions and over-eat.
However the scientists believe that “low grade” inflammation that stems from fat cells may gradually eat away sensitive parts of the brain.
Dementia is now the most common cause of death in Britain and effects almost a million people.
Do you need a better reason to eat healthily and exercise?