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October 16, 2006

The 'Homer Simpson Effect' Turns Out To Be True - Fat Lnked To Loss Of Intelligence

Topics: Health Issues

homerfatpride1gt.jpgIt turns out that there just may be something to the "Homer Simpson effect" - now that there's yet another research report suggesting that being overweight could affect your intelligence:

A five-year study of more than 2000 middle-aged people has found a possible link between weight and brain function.

Research published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found people with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) scored lower on average in cognitive tests within a sample.

Meanwhile, a separate paper, published in the same journal by Scots researchers, suggests a link between physical and mental fitness.

... Researchers studied 2223 healthy people, aged 32 to 62, who sat four cognitive tests including word learning in 1996 and again in 2001.

... Results from a word memory test showed that people with a BMI of 20 - considered to be a healthy level - remembered an average of nine out of 16 words. But people with a BMI of 30 - inside the obese range - remembered an average of just seven out of 16 words.

... While those whose BMI changed over the five years did not appear to see any change in their cognitive function, those who started out with a higher BMI did appear to show higher levels of "cognitive decline", Dr Cournot said.

... "The findings may be due to a host of factors including the thickening and hardening of cerebral vessels because of obesity or possibly the development of insulin resistance," said Dr Cournot.

Indications that there is a probable correlation between obesity and intelligence aren't new. Back in 2003, Halkjær et al. reported in "Intelligence Test Score and Educational Level in Relation to BMI Changes and Obesity" that education and intelligence, analyzed separately, were inversely related to BMI changes in both groups and to the development of obesity in the nonobese group. Earlier this year, Karnehed et al. reported that young men who were obese (BMI ≥ 30) at age 18 years (N = 10,782) had a much lower chance of attaining a high education than normal-weight subjects [(18.5 ≤ BMI < 25); adjusted hazard ratio 0.48 (95% confidence interval, 0.45, 0.52)]. Young men who were obese at age 18 had lower mean ninth grade school marks than young men with normal weight at any given intelligence level.

Taking a look look at some of the other hazards of obesity, you'll find cancer and diabetes included.

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Cross posted from New Hope Blog

Posted by Richard at October 16, 2006 2:02 PM

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