Brain and gene influence on obesity

A gene variation has proven to affect brain tissue reduction and added fat storage.

The body and the brain operate in extraordinary ways. Add science into the mix and we’re able to discover how obesity can affect this coexistence.

A recent study in Pittsburgh has discovered a link between brain and genes as influencers of obesity. They found that obesity directly affects the size of a person’s brain. Obese people have 8% less brain tissue compared to people of normal weight. The results for overweight people followed trend with 4% less brain tissue than people of normal weight.

It is believed the main cause is a gene variation in the FTO and hypothalamus. This part of the brain controls many basic functions including fluid balance, body temperature and hunger. The study had proven that genetic variations in obese people can affect behaviour, as opposed to the chemical processes of fat and energy metabolism.

Brain degeneration in obese people may also be due to lack of exercise, which could explain why somebody is overweight to begin with. Research already suggests that exercise preserves brain mass by releasing chemicals that restore neurons. Overweight people also are prone to having higher levels of insulin hormone, known as a compelling fat storage hormone. So by not exercising, there is a significant chance of increasing brain tissue loss.

Clearly, it can be seen that being obese, or even overweight, reduces a person’s quality of life.  It doesn’t just lead to diseases, but also decreases cognitive capabilities. Professor Thompson who led the study said any loss of brain tissue puts a person at greater risk of functional decline. That is why the most crucial way to resist both obesity and brain decline is to exercise, sustain high fitness levels and eat healthy.

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