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Study finds link between neurodegeneration in obese people and Alzheimer’s disease

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A new study led by scientists at McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital finds a link between neurodegeneration in obese people and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, helping them shed excess weight By slowing the decline in cognitive function due to aging, AD.

Previous studies have shown that obesity is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related changes such as cerebrovascular damage and amyloid-β accumulation. However, so far, no studies have directly compared brain atrophy patterns in Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.

Using a sample of over 1,300 people, researchers compared patterns of gray matter atrophy in obesity and AD. They compared AD patients with healthy controls, compared obese and non-obese individuals, and created maps of gray matter atrophy for each group.

Scientists have found that obesity and Alzheimer’s disease affect gray cortical thinning in similar ways. For example, the thinning of the right temporoparietal cortex and the left prefrontal cortex was similar in both groups. Cortical thinning may be a sign of neurodegeneration. This suggests that obesity can cause the same type of neurodegeneration seen in AD patients.

Obesity is increasingly recognized as a multisystem disease affecting the respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, and other systems.Posted in Alzheimer’s Journal Jan 31, 2022 The study also helps reveal neurological effects, showing that obesity may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Our study strengthens previous literature pointing to obesity as a key factor in AD by showing that cortical thinning may be one of the potential risk mechanisms. Our results highlight the importance of losing weight in obese and overweight people in middle age to reduce the subsequent risk of neurodegeneration and dementia.”

Filip Morys, a PhD researcher at The Neuro and lead author of the study, said:

This work was funded by a Foundation Scheme award for AD from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, computing resources from Calcul Quebec and Compute Canada, and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé.


Journal reference:

Morris, F. and others. (2023) Obesity-related neurodegenerative patterns mimic Alzheimer’s disease in observational cohort studies. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. doi.org/10.3233/JAD-220535.

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