The Associated Press 10. December 2019 16:40:10 IST
New Results from the largest long-term study on brain development and child health raise provocative questions about obesity and brain function.
Does overweight somehow reduce the brain regions that regulate planning and impulse control? Is obesity a consequence of this difference in the brain? Or are eating habits, lifestyle, family circumstances and genetics to blame?
Previous studies on children and adults have had conflicting results. The new research is incapable, and external experts warned that misinterpretation could unfairly maintain the weight stigma associated with weight, brain structure, and mental function.
If follow-up studies confirm the findings and could lead to new ways to prevent obesity, aimed at improved brain function.
People with a healthy weight, "said Dr. Eliana Perrin, a professor of pediatrics at Duke University, who co-authored the editorial.
The federally funded study involved 3,190 US children. They were 9 and 10 years old. They had size and weight measurements, MRI brain scans, and computer-based tests of mental function, including memory, speech, reasoning, and impulse control. Nearly 1,000 children – nearly 1 in 3 – were overweight or obese, similar to national statistics.
Researchers found differences in the heaviest brain scans of children, slightly less volume in the brain region behind the forehead, which exerted the so-called "executive" controlled function. These include things like the ability to plan and control impulses and do multiple things at the same time.
The differences to normal-weight children are subtle, said study author Scott Mackey, a neuroscientist at the University of Vermont.
The heaviest children also had slightly lower scores on computer-based tests of executive function. But Mackey and lead author Jennifer Laurent, an obesity researcher at the University of Vermont, said it was unknown if any of the differences had a significant impact on children's academic functioning or behavior. It's not clear how they relate to weight, and Mackey said that probably other factors that were not measured in the study, such as physical activity and healthy eating, play a far greater role in executive function. "width =" 1000 "height =" 1500 "/>
Adult studies have linked adiposity to mild inflammation throughout the body, which can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease and mental decline Some studies have also found a lower brain volume in obese adults, and researchers believe this could be an inflammation.
The new study suggests that inflammatory changes that affect weight, brain structure and function begin as early as childhood.
Research confirms previous studies on children and adults, but leaves many questions unanswered, said Marci Gluck, a research psychologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases, not on was involved in the investigations.
and "intelligence" are not the same, "said Gluck.
Obesity researcher Natasha Schvey of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences called the study impressive, but noted that eating habits and obesity are influenced by many factors, including: including metabolic and psychological differences.
"We know from a lot of really good research that obesity does not occur that often in an individual – I think it's – people talk about willpower – that's a very small part of the equation", She said, "There are much bigger factors that contribute to our weight, and many of them are genetic, which does not mean it's immutable."