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Study Finds That Being Overweight May Increase Thinning of the Cortex


As we age, the cerebral cortex gets thinner and memory faculties
start to weaken. This thinning really starts to accelerate after the age of 60.
According to a new study, having a bigger waistline and a high BMI in your 60’s
may be linked with greater thinning of the cortex later in life.





Researchers from the University of Miami analyzed data from the
Northern Manhattan MRI Sub-Study, which included 1,289 people with an average
age of 64. Participants’ waist circumference and BMI were measured at the
beginning of the study. Six years later they had MRI brain scans to measure the
thickness of the cortex area and overall brain volume.





The researchers found that greater waist circumference and BMI
were significantly associated with having a thinner cortex. Every unit increase
in BMI was associated with a 0.098 mm thinner cortex and in obese people with a
0.207 mm thinner cortex. These findings held even after adjusting for high
blood pressure, alcohol use, and smoking.





The study was published online ahead of print on July 24, 2019 in
the journal Neurology.


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