Fat or Pain = Smaller Brains

Fat or Pain = Smaller Brains
In an interesting finding, long-term obesity for women results in shrunken brains, and chronic pain has the same effect. Deborah Gustafson of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, led the study on obese women. Brain atrophy was significantly more prevalent in obese women than in their leaner peers. “Obesity is related to ischemia, hypertension, and cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. These conditions contribute to an unhealthy vascular system, and therefore, to a higher dementia risk. Obesity may also increase the secretion of cortisol, which could lead to atrophy.” While the study was entirely women, it seems plausible that the same effect would be found in men. Original research in Neurology, reported in ScienceDaily.
Meanwhile, Vania Apkarian found that both men and women with chronic back pain could experience brain shrinkage of up to 11% – an effect that corresponds to up to 20 years of normal aging. Apkarian hypothesizes that the observed effect could be the result of overuse atrophy – the constant pain stimulation effectively causing literla burnout. Original research published in J. Neuroscience, reported in ScienceDaily. (11/29)

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