A fat tummy shrinks your brain

Updated: Jan 09, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

London: A new study by researchers in the US has revealed that having a larger waistline could shrivel your brain.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to cognitive impairment, says Antonio Convit at the New York University School of Medicine.

Convit wanted to see what impact obesity had on the physical structure of the brain.

As part of the study, he used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brains of 44 obese individuals with those of 19 lean people of similar age and background.

He discovered that obese people had more water in the amygdala - a part of the brain involved in eating behaviour.

He also saw smaller orbitofrontal cortices in obese people, important for impulse control and also involved in feeding behaviour (Brain Research, in press).

"It could mean that there are less neurons, or that those neurons are shrunken," New Scientist quoted Convit as saying.