Obesity raises risk of Alzheimer's and mental illness by reducing blood flow to the brain, study warns

OBESITY reduces blood flow to the brain and raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness, a study suggests.

Scientists analysed 35,000 brain scans from more than 17,000 people.

They found that as a person’s weight goes up, all regions of the brain go down in activity and blood flow.

This is a predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s.

It is also associated with depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addiction and suicide.

Expert George Perry said of the US study: “This is a major advance because it directly demonstrates how the brain responds to our body.”

Research leader Dr Daniel Amen said: “Areas of the brain vulnerable to Alzheimer’s were found to have reduced blood flow along the weight spectrum — from normal to overweight, obese, and morbidly obese.”

Dr Amen said although the results are concerning, there is hope.

He added: “One of the most important lessons we have learned through 30 years of our studies is that brains can be improved by adopting healthy habits, such as a calorie-smart diet and regular exercise.”

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