Obesity Promotes Cognitive Decline-Mechanism Studied

Although admittedly this is  a mouse study, the research investigators have shown that diet induced obesity creates changes in the brain that could elucidate that similar mechanisms occur in people. Supporting evidence for this is found in published human studies that have linked obesity and cognitive decline previously.The exact cellular mechanisms that contribute to cognitive decline in obesity, however, have not been clearly found.

In this study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, it was shown that obesity activates a type of neurologic cell -microglial cells, which leads to the death of brain cells. This research suggests that microglia may be a potential therapeutic target that could potentially help in the fight against obesity, and all the related health conditions with which obesity is linked. As well as increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, obesity is also a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Lead researcher Elise Cope and her colleagues showed that diet-induced obesity in mice results in loss of dendritic spines , the neural cells protrusions that receive signals from other cells. This activates microglia and leads to loss of other neurons.



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