LOS ANGELES, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Being overweight or obese can result in brain shrinkage and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said.
Study senior author Paul Thompson of the University of California, Los Angeles and Cyrus A. Raji, a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues compared the brains of people who were obese, overweight, and of normal weight.
The study, published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, found obese people had 8 percent less brain tissue than people with normal weight, while overweight people had 4 percent less tissue.
"That's a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer's and other diseases that attack the brain," Thompson said in a statement.
"But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control."
The study also found people defined as obese had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory and in parts of the brain involving attention and executive functions, long term memory and movement.