People with higher levels of abdominal body fat are at greater risk of having brain atrophy with aging, according to an international study that included a team of clinical researchers from Providence Saint John’s Health Center’s Pacific Brain Health Center.
Study participants with more of two types of abdominal body fat – subcutaneous fat under the skin and hidden visceral fat wrapped around the organs in the abdomen – are more likely to have loss of brain cells that might lead to dementia than people with smaller amounts of these types of abdominal fat, according to a study published today in the journal Aging and Disease.
The study used deep learning, a type of machine learning and artificial intelligence, to draw conclusions from whole body imaging scans. It also builds upon earlier research correlating fat and brain atrophy. The new study utilized much higher resolution imaging, included far more subjects, broadened the age range and expanded criteria to include subcutaneous fat. It also found women more than men are subject to brain shrinkage based on fat levels.
Excerpted from the Santa Monica Daily Press