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Brains of overweight people 'ten years older' than lean counterparts at middle-age

Submitted by: Odio @ 07:50 AM | Thursday, August 4, 2016 | (url: http://medicalxpr...)

From middle-age, the brains of obese individuals display differences in white matter similar to those in lean individuals ten years their senior, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge. White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between regions.
Our brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognising that obesity - already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease - may also affect the onset and progression of brain ageing; however, direct studies to support this link are lacking.
In a cross-sectional study - in other words, a study that looks at data from individuals at one point in time - researchers looked at the impact of obesity on brain structure across the adult lifespan to investigate whether obesity was associated with brain changes characteristic of ageing. The team studied data from 473 individuals between the ages of 20 and 87, recruited by the Cambridge Centre for Aging and Neuroscience. The results are published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
The researchers divided the data into two categories based on weight: lean and overweight. They found striking differences in the volume of white matter in the brains of overweight individuals compared with those of their leaner counterparts. Overweight individuals had a widespread reduction in white matter compared to lean people.
The team then calculated how white matter volume related to age across the two groups. They discovered that an overweight person at, say, 50 years old had a comparable white matter volume to a lean person aged 60 years, implying a difference in brain age of 10 years.

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Some 54 million 'overweight' or 'obese' Americans are actually healthy, say scien

Submitted by: Odio @ 07:33 PM | Friday, February 5, 2016 | (url: http://www.scienc...)

Scientists in California say that 34.4 million Americans considered technically overweight due to their BMI are actually healthy based on a range of cardiometabolic health markers, as are some 19.8 million 'obese' people. The massive misclassification isn't just about which words we use, either, say the researchers, since the flawed BMI's usage in the health insurance industry unfairly penalises some, while rewarding others.

"In the overweight BMI category, 47 percent are perfectly healthy," said researcher Jeffrey Hunger from the University of California, Santa Barbara. "So to be using BMI as a health proxy particularly for everyone within that category is simply incorrect. Our study should be the final nail in the coffin for BMI."

The researchers looked at data from the most recent US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to analyse the link between BMI a measure calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres with a range of specific health markers. These cardiometabolic assessments included blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, among others.