• Obesity and Neurological Degeneration

    Increasingly, scientific studies in the past 20 years are uncovering links between obesity and neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, Alzheimer’s. The brain depends on a supply of oxygen and nutrients to work correctly. That supply is provided through an increasingly fine system of blood vessels.

    As we age our blood vessels stiffen and lose flexibility to expand and contract. Scientists believe those changes may affect the tiniest of vessels in the brain, as well as larger ones throughout the body, making delivery of oxygen and nutrients more difficult. That might contribute to changes in the brain during aging.

    Long-term high blood pressure, which stresses the walls of our blood vessels, and high cholesterol, which contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, are also major factors in causing atherosclerosis, the increasing inflexibility of blood vessels.

    While some hardening of those blood vessels is thought to be a natural process of aging, there’s no doubt obesity contributes greatly to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increasing the stress on the body’s circulatory system and causing damage to the brain.

    More analysis of the wide-ranging effects of obesity will help researchers pinpoint the neurological implications and work to find ways to prevent obesity’s damage.