Monday, April 2, 2012

Being Overweight May Lead to Reduced Cognition

A new study asks the question does a big belly lower your cognition. A Korean study suggests that it might. We all know being overweight is unhealthy in general. It can wreak havoc on your heart, joints and many other key body functions. Little was known before now though about how it affects the brain.

The study consisted of 250 adults age 60 or older and was designed to see if there is a link between obesity and cognitive decline. Prior to the study the researchers calculated the participant’s BMI or Body Mass Index and used scans to check cognition based tests. Subjects with the highest BMI performed the worst on the cognitive skills test.

The biggest association seemed to be with people with large amounts of visceral fat which is fat found around the torso otherwise known as belly fat. The results suggest that with extra belly fat people could be at a higher risk for brain diseases such as dementia. Oddly there was less of a link with obesity and lower cognitive skills in the people over 70 compared to the people between 60-70.

Although researchers are not 100% sure the difference about the age groups they believe is based on the fact that people by that age who have dementia likely would have lost a lot of weight. The conclusion is that by decreasing obesity you decrease your chance of cognitive decline or risk of dementia.

The more the loss of cognition goes on the more likely people are to suffer long term problems. There are many reasons to not be obese but considering how important the brain is for day to day functioning keep your brain fit may be the best reason of all to lose weight.

There have been many general health activities that have lead to a healthier brain and better cognition. Some of those other things include physical activities and eating right. Overall the healthier you are the more likely you will not deal with a loss of cognition or dementia later in life.

Cognition refers to mental processes the brain goes through. These processes can include things like remembering, producing or understanding language and solving problems and making decisions. Cognition can be conscious or unconscious and can also be called cognitive process or cognitive skills.

The better your cognition is improved with things such as being a healthy weight, eating right and physical activity. When your cognition is improved you will become a better thinker and processing information will be easier for you.

Leveraging existing brain games and other serious brain training tasks, you can actually also assess yourself and all your important cognitive abilities. When you know where you are standing, you can then decide to train on these core cognitive skills and improve them over time. This is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a sharp brain over time. It is proven that you can improve your quality of life by remaining sharp and maintaining a good level of cognitive health and development.

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