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FILE - In this May 8, 2014 file photo, an overweight is seen in New York. International diabetes organizations are calling for weight-loss surgery to become a more routine treatment option for diabetes, even for some patients who are only mildly obese. Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are a deadly pair, and numerous studies show stomach-shrinking operations can dramatically improve diabetes. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Study finds being overweight makes your brain look 10 years older


You already know obesity is bad for your body. But Cambridge University researchers found it could be just as bad for your brain.

Scanning the brains of 473 people between the ages of 20 and 87, researchers found the overweight had brains that those of their healthier counterparts 10 years later. In other words, an overweight 50-year-old had a brain like a healthy 60-year-old.

The main difference was the amount of white matter in the brain, which allows different nerves to communicate to each other, according  to the University of California Davis Department of Neurology.

Researchers only noticed a difference from middle age onward, which suggests that brains are particularly vulnerable at that time.

"We can only speculate on whether obesity might in some way cause these changes or whether obesity is a consequence of brain changes," said Dr. Lisa Ronan, the report's first author.

The study found no link between obesity and actual cognitive function. So don't blame your low IQ on your body weight.

Left: A 56-year-old brain in a healthy body. Right: A 50-year-old brain in an overweight body.

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