If you’re overweight, this common disease may be even worse for your brain

The deterioration could be upping your odds of dementia.

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In the study of 150 people, the researchers discovered that the brains of overweight or obese people with early-stage type 2 diabetes showed greater, more severe abnormalities than normal-weight people with the disease.

After analyzing MRI results of the brain, they determined that diabetic participants had significantly thinner volumes of gray matter—which is related to cognitive function, and declines with age—than healthy people without diabetes. But the overweight and obese diabetics had even more thinning in those regions than normal-weight diabetics, the researchers report.

Diabetes has already been known to lead to brain changes that can accelerate the rate of brain function decline. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but it may have to do with increasing inflammation or poor blood sugar control.

Obesity can mess with your metabolic functions, which independently has been linked to brain changes, too. So it’s likely that extra weight may be compounding the brain-changing effects of diabetes and making them even worse.

More research needs to be done, but the findings stress the importance of helping heavy diabetics lose the extra weight in order to preserve their brain function and resist further deterioration, the researchers say in a press release.

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