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Being Overweight is not good for your Body and Brain, say Researchers

Researchers from the University of Arizona say having a high body mass index, or BMI, can cause inflammation that can impair cognitive functioning in older adults

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In this May 8, 2014 photo, an overweight man wears a shirt patterned after the American flag during a visit to the World Trade Center, in New York. VOA
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  • “The higher your BMI, the more your inflammation goes up,” said Kyle Bourassa, lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity
  • The researchers say their study adds to existing literature about inflammation and cognitive decline by showing BMI has a role to play
  • While cognitive decline is normal as one gets older, linking BMI to inflammation could help stave off the worst effects

October 19, 2016: Being overweight is not good for your body, and new research suggests it’s not good for your brain either. Researchers from the University of Arizona say having a high body mass index, or BMI, can cause inflammation that can impair cognitive functioning in older adults.

“The higher your BMI, the more your inflammation goes up,” said Kyle Bourassa, lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. “Prior research has found that inflammation, particularly in the brain, can negatively impact brain function and cognition.”

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The conclusions were reached using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which “includes over 12 years’ worth of information on the health, well-being and social and economic circumstances of the English population age 50 and older.”

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They looked specifically at two groups over a six-year period.

“The higher participants’ body mass at the first time point in the study, the greater the change in their CRP levels over the next four years,” Bourassa said. “CRP stands for C-reactive protein, which is a marker in the blood of systemic inflammation in your body. Change in CRP over four years then predicted change in cognition six years after the start of the study. The body mass of these people predicted their cognitive decline through their levels of systemic inflammation.”

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“The findings provide a clear and integrative account of how BMI is associated with cognitive decline through systemic inflammation, but we need to remember that these are only correlational findings,” he said. “Of course, correlation does not equal causation. The findings suggest a mechanistic pathway, but we cannot confirm causality until we reduce body mass experimentally, then examine the downstream effects on inflammation and cognition.”

While cognitive decline is normal as one gets older, linking BMI to inflammation could help stave off the worst effects.

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“If you have high inflammation, in the future we may suggest using anti-inflammatories not just to bring down your inflammation but to hopefully also help with your cognition,” Bourassa said. “Having a lower body mass is just good for you, period. It’s good for your health and good for your brain.” (VOA)

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Obesity Linked To Heart Rhythm Disorder

Obesity raises the risk of irregular heart rate

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Stop Obesity
Stop Obesity. Pixabay

Obesity may increase risk of developing a rapid and irregular heart rate, called atrial fibrillation, which can lead to stroke, heart failure and other complications, says a study of nearly 70,00 patients.

The findings, published in the journal American Journal of Cardiology, showed that people with obesity had a 40 per cent higher chance of developing atrial fibrillation than people without obesity.

Also Read: Obesity may affect a child’s liver

The results suggest that for patients with both obesity and atrial fibrillation, losing weight has the potential to help treat and manage their atrial fibrillation, said Andrew Foy, Assistant Professor at Penn State College of Medicine in the US.

“If you have both atrial fibrillation and obesity, treating obesity will go a long way in treating and managing your atrial fibrillation,” Foy said.

Our weight must be in our control.
Weight must be in control. Pixabay

“And if you have obesity, and lose weight through diet, exercise, or even surgery, that will help reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like atrial fibrillation,” he added.

Atrial fibrillation happens when the electrical currents in the heart go haywire and the top chambers of the heart quiver or flutter.

The condition puts patients at a higher risk for developing other heart complications.

While previous research has linked obesity and atrial fibrillation, Foy said he wanted to explore the connection in a larger sample of younger patients.

Also Read: SURVEY – Obesity Becoming A Health Crisis Among The Asia-Pacific Children

The researchers followed a group of 67,278 patients — half with obesity and half without — for eight years. The average participant age was 43.8 and nearly 77 per cent were women.

People with obesity are 40 per cent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, while they are 45 per cent and 51 per cent more likely to develop hypertension or diabetes, respectively, the findings showed.

The researchers also found that people with obesity are almost just as likely to develop atrial fibrillation as people with hypertension or diabetes.  IANS