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As Waistlines Widen, Brains Shrink

A new study shows that elderly people who are overweight or obese have significantly less brain tissue than those of normal weight. The difference was 4% for overweight people and 8% for the obese in a study of 94 people in their 70s. The volunteers were followed for five years, and anyone who showed cognitive impairment was excluded from the final sample.
"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than their healthy counterparts while [those of] overweight people looked 8 years older," said UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson, senior author of a study published online in Human Brain Mapping.

Much of the lost tissue was in the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain, the seat of decision-making and memory, among other things.

It is not clear whether weight gain caused a reduction in brain tissue, or if a smaller brain contributes to weight gain, or there are other factors contributing to both. http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/08/25/as-waistlines-widen-brains-shrink.html -via Lifehacker

(image credit: Flickr user erat)

This study followed 94 people, a tiny, tiny sample size for all these news stories to be proclaiming the findings as significant in any way. At most this study indicates that further studies including greater numbers of people may be valuable.

It's annoying how the press picks up any tiny study of this nature and goes around declaring it as solid fact. What foolishness.
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Especially when it confirms their biases, Duane. Fat people = stupid, oafish.

It's days like this I sarcastically remark on how great it is to be a human being in this enlightened day and age. I'm not saying we shouldn't be asking these questions, of course, but the response to the most insignificant of data is always so extreme, and so extremely depressing. People are only skeptical when they don't like the results.
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I wonder if this applies to younger people too because once I got fat in my late twenties (I'm 32 now), I became a total dumbass in the memory and decisions department. Not nearly as sharp as I used to be.

However, once I changed my diet and exercise, as I've started to loose weight, I've noticed my cognitive functions have improved.

Perhaps it's all unrelated though.
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This study is absolute bollocks and anyone who believes any of the nonsense posited by it needs to smarten up.

Medical studies should consist of way more subjects than the number of people who attend the average wedding.

It's like the study that "showed" gamers aren't typical adolescents. When you read the study, it only interviewed people 19 and older.

Absolute crap, but the facts of it get lost in the story. "FAT PEOPLE WILL ROT THEIR BRAINS! HEHEHE! POINT AND LAUGH AT THE FAT PEOPLE" when there are a million other factors in play.
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When I turned 51 I started gaining weight. (I never could before) Man did I feel stupid! I cut down on the amount of food I ate and within 3 months I had lost 19 pounds and was back to the weight I was at age 23. I feel a lot smarter now.
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