Navigation Links
Smoking, Diabetes, Obesity May Shrink Your Brain

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- As if there weren't already enough good reasons to avoid smoking and keep your weight, blood sugar levels and blood pressure all under control, a new study suggests these risk factors in middle age may cause your brain to shrink, leading to mental declines up to a decade later.

Evaluating data from 1,352 participants whose average age was 54 in the Framingham Offspring Study -- which began in 1971 -- researchers from the University of California, Davis found that smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight were each linked to potentially dangerous vascular changes in the brain.

"We can't cure disease or cure aging, but the idea of a healthy body, healthy mind is very real," said study author Dr. Charles DeCarli, director of UC Davis' Alzheimer's Disease Center. "People should stop smoking, control their blood pressure, avoid diabetes and lose weight. It seems like a no-brainer."

The study is published Aug. 2 in the journal Neurology.

Participants were given blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes tests and had their body mass and waist circumference measured. They also underwent MRI brain scans over the course of a decade, the first one about seven years after the initial risk factor exam.

Those with stroke and dementia were excluded at the outset, and between the first and last MRIs 19 participants suffered a stroke and two developed dementia.

Those with high blood pressure experienced a more rapid worsening of test scores of planning and decision-making, which corresponded to a faster rate of growth of small areas of vascular brain damage than those with normal blood pressure.

Those with diabetes in middle age experienced brain shrinkage in an area known as the hippocampus faster than those without, and smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus faster than nonsmokers, with a more rapid increase of small areas of vascular brain damage.

Meanwhile, participants who were obese at middle age were more likely to be in the top 25 percent of those with faster declines in tests of executive function, DeCarli said. Those with a high waist-to-hip ratio were more likely to be among the 25 percent with a faster drop in brain volume.

"I do think it's an important study and has practical importance in confirming there are things we can do in middle age that can have effects 10, 20 and 30 years down the line to improve cognitive health," said Dr. Raj Shah, medical director of the Rush Memory Clinic in Chicago. "It may seem we're talking about things that are somewhat common knowledge, but really, we always hypothesize these things could happen, but to show they actually do in a study is very important."

DeCarli noted that the effects of the risk factors studied are likely to be even more compelling in the general population, since study participants were largely healthy individuals with normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a low diabetes rate.

"It could be so much worse in a representative group of Americans," he said, adding that all study participants were white and only 5 percent were diabetics, compared to a nearly 50 percent rate for Hispanics over age 65. And, "the study certainly doesn't represent the growing obesity problem seen in the South."

One of the strengths of the research was that it used a large sample of people from a well-known study, said Catherine Roe, an assistant professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. However, the results don't prove these risk factors caused the brain changes, she added.

"We know smoking and being overweight are bad for other parts of your health," Roe said. "This is just one more reason to get these things under control."

More information

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America has more about the warning signs of dementia.

SOURCES: Charles DeCarli, M.D., professor, neurology, and director, Alzheimer's Disease Center, University of California, Davis, Sacramento; Raj Shah, M.D., medical director, Rush Memory Clinic, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Catherine M. Roe, Ph.D., assistant professor, neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Aug. 2, 2011, Neurology

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. AcuAids Announces Acupuncture at Home to Stop Smoking, Lose Weight and More
2. Smoking, but not past alcohol abuse, may impair mental function
3. Wood smoke exposure multiplies damage from smoking, increases risk of COPD
4. Citywide smoking ban contributes to significant decrease in maternal smoking, pre-term births
5. When video games get problematic so do smoking, drug use and aggression
6. Smoking, Obesity Slowing U.S. Life Expectancy Gains: Report
7. Study Links Smoking, Breast Cancer in Older Women
8. Refusal skills help minority youths combat smoking, study finds
9. Smoking, Prostate Cancer a Deadly Mix
10. Newer Blood Test Predicts Diabetes, Heart Disease
11. Increasing Soda Consumption Fuels Rise in Diabetes, Heart Disease
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Smoking, Diabetes, Obesity May Shrink Your Brain
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and the loss of ... William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six children, ten grandchildren, ... Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier pilot, he spent ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet ... in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in Covington, ... occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the Holiday ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College of Medical ... Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. ... honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, the Los ... article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, featuring articles ... procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. Mohebi says ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at Florida ... money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 people ... keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. on ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 11, 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), ... in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico , ... Following a ... sustained minor structural damage, temporary loss of power and ... been completed, manufacturing operations have resumed, and the company ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... 6, 2017   Provista, a proven leader ... billion in purchasing power, today announced a new resource ... The Newsroom is the online home for case ... expert bios, news releases, slideshows and events. ... wealth of resources at their fingertips, viewers can also ...
(Date:10/4/2017)...  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ... Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts , ... offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... regulations. ... a flu shot is by the end of October, according to the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: