Structural brain differences and cognitive functioning related to body mass index in older females

Katrin Walther, Alex C. Birdsill, Elizabeth L Glisky, T Lee Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

169 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about the effect of obesity on brain structures and cognition in healthy older adults. This study examined the association between body mass index (BMI), regional volume differences in gray and white matter measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and cognitive functioning in older females. Participants included 95 community-dwelling older females (ages 52-92 years) who underwent extensive neuropsychological testing and high-resolution MRI scanning. Optimized voxel-based morphometry techniques were employed to determine the correlation between BMI and regional gray and white matter volumes. Volumes of significant regions were then correlated with cognitive functioning. Higher BMI was associated with decreased gray matter volumes in the left orbitofrontal, right inferior frontal, and right precentral gyri, a right posterior region including the parahippocampal, fusiform, and lingual gyri, and right cerebellar regions, as well as increased volumes of white matter in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes, even when hypertension was considered. Compared to normal weight women, obese women performed poorer on tests of executive functioning. Smaller gray matter volume in the left orbitofrontal region was associated with lower executive functioning. Additionally, despite the lack of significant group differences in memory and visuomotor speed, gray and white matter volumes predicted performance on these measures. The results provide additional evidence for a negative link between increased body fat and brain functioning in older females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1052-1064
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Body Mass Index
Brain
Frontal Lobe
Temporal Lobe
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Independent Living
Occipital Lobe
Parahippocampal Gyrus
Parietal Lobe
Prefrontal Cortex
Cognition
Adipose Tissue
Obesity
Gray Matter
Hypertension
Weights and Measures
White Matter

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Obesity
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Structural brain differences and cognitive functioning related to body mass index in older females. / Walther, Katrin; Birdsill, Alex C.; Glisky, Elizabeth L; Ryan, T Lee.

In: Human Brain Mapping, Vol. 31, No. 7, 2010, p. 1052-1064.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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