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Neurobiol Aging. 2016 Apr;40:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2015.12.020. Epub 2016 Jan 4.

Higher body mass index in older adults is associated with lower gray matter volume: implications for memory performance.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Subproject A1, Faculty of Medicine, Collaborative Research Centre 1052 "Obesity Mechanisms", University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
2
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; LIFE-Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
3
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; IFB Adiposity Diseases Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; LIFE-Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
5
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
6
LIFE-Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Medical Faculty, Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP), University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
7
Medical Faculty, Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP), University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; LIFE-Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
8
IFB Adiposity Diseases Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Subproject A1, Faculty of Medicine, Collaborative Research Centre 1052 "Obesity Mechanisms", University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
9
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; Subproject A1, Faculty of Medicine, Collaborative Research Centre 1052 "Obesity Mechanisms", University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
10
Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany; Subproject A1, Faculty of Medicine, Collaborative Research Centre 1052 "Obesity Mechanisms", University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. Electronic address: witte@cbs.mpg.de.

Abstract

Midlife obesity has been associated with increased dementia risk, yet reports on brain structure and function are mixed. We therefore assessed the effects of body mass index (BMI) on gray matter volume (GMV) and cognition in a well-characterized sample of community-dwelled older adults. GMV was measured using 3T-neuroimaging in 617 participants (258 women, 60-80 years, BMI 17-41 kg/m(2)). In addition, cognitive performance and various confounders including hypertension, diabetes, and apolipoprotein E genotype were assessed. A higher BMI correlated significantly with lower GMV in multiple brain regions, including (pre)frontal, temporal, insular and occipital cortex, thalamus, putamen, amygdala, and cerebellum, even after adjusting for confounders. In addition, lower GMV in prefrontal and thalamic areas partially mediated negative effects of (1) higher BMI and (2) higher age on memory performance. We here showed that a higher BMI in older adults is associated with widespread gray matter alterations, irrespective of obesity-related comorbidities and other confounders. Our results further indicate that a higher BMI induces structural alterations that translate into subtle impairments in memory performance in aging.

KEYWORDS:

Adiposity; Cognitive aging; Cognitive performance; Cohort studies; Healthy aging; Lifestyle factors; Overweight; VBM

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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