Obesity is a well-known risk factor for type II diabetes. And diabetes is associated with cognitive impairment. Antonio Convit from the NYU School of Medicine decided to investigate how obesity affects the structure of the brain.
New Scientist writes that he used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 44 obese volunteers with those of 19 slim men of the same age and social status.
It was found that obese people had more water in the amygdala – part of the brain involved in nutrition-related behavior. But the orbit frontal cortex, necessary for controlling impulses and involved in nutrition-related behavior was smaller. According to Convit, this may indicate that obese people’s brains have less neurons, or the latter have dried out.
Eric Stice from the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene is sure that this finding supports the theory of obesity, indicating that an obese person chooses the wrong path. Overeating changes the neural structure. This further increases the chances of overeating. Obesity is associated with a constant inflammation, which, according to Convit, could be behind the changes in brain size.