Being obese can have a significant impact on your cognitive function, including your memory and ability to learn.
If we look worldwide, we’re probably dealing with close to 700 million people that are obese. The public health consequences of that number is massive.
I read an interesting study by neuroscientist Elizabeth Gould from Princeton University. In this study, normal mice were overfed until they put on an additional 40% of their weight. What the researchers discovered is that the spine and brains of normal-weight mice were healthy.
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The larger mice had impaired nervous systems. Their dendritic spines (tiny protrusions in the brain) were greatly diminished in the obese mice. The researchers discovered that the microglial cells, a type of immune cell in the brain, targeted and destroyed the dendritic spines. As a result, the obese mice had a lot of problems navigating mazes and remembering the location of objects.
The mechanism behind the damage seen in obese mice isn’t yet understood. What is evident is that the overeating and weight gain process damaged the parts of the brain involved with memory.
I’ve seen this in obese patients myself. Often they have anxiety, depression, brain fog, and memory problems.
Let’s stop people from getting obese in the first place. Governments need to take a long, hard look at the source of their tax dollars. Any taxes they are getting from cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food is paltry compared to how much it costs to treat the illnesses that result from those habits.