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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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Exposure to Certain Disinfectants Can Cause Obesity in Kids: Research

The use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits.

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Disinfectants
How common household cleaners could make kids overweight. Flickr

Early life exposure to certain disinfectants used at home could be making children overweight by altering the composition of their gut bacteria, suggests new research.

Babies living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight as toddlers, showed the findings published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

For the study, the researchers analysed the gut flora of 757 infants from the general population at age 3-4 months and weight at ages 1 and 3 years, looking at exposure to disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products used in the home.

Disinfectants
Mother’s Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents. Pixabay

The researchers looked at data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort on microbes in infant fecal matter. They used World Health Organization growth charts for body mass index (BMI) scores.

Associations with altered gut flora in babies 3-4 months old were strongest for frequent use of household disinfectants such as multi-surface cleaners, which showed lower levels of Haemophilus and Clostridium bacteria but higher levels of Lachnospiraceae.

The researchers also observed an increase in Lachnospiraceae bacteria with more frequent cleaning with disinfectants.

They, however, did not find the same association with detergents or eco-friendly cleaners.

“We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age 3-4 months,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada.

Disinfectants
The researchers looked at data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort on microbes in infant fecal matter. Flcikr

“When they were 3 years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant,” Kozyrskyj said.

“Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae,” she said.

Also Read: Asthma Ups The Chance of Obesity: Study

Kozyrskyj suggests that the use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of their infants. (IANS)