Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Insulin sensitivity may explain link between obesity, memory problems

20.10.2010
Because of impairments in their insulin sensitivity, obese individuals demonstrate different brain responses than their normal-weight peers while completing a challenging cognitive task, according to new research by psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

The results provide further evidence that a healthy lifestyle at midlife could lead to a higher quality of life later on, especially as new drugs and treatments allow people to live longer.

"The good thing about insulin sensitivity is that it's very modifiable through diet and exercise," says psychology graduate student Mitzi Gonzales, who co-authored the paper published in the journal Obesity with Assistant Professor Andreana Haley and other colleagues.

To better understand why midlife obesity is linked to higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia in old age, the researchers had middle-aged adults between 40 and 60 years of age complete a challenging cognitive task while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

While obese, overweight and normal-weight participants performed equally well on the task, obese individuals displayed lower functional brain response in one brain region, the inferior parietal lobe.

Obese participants also had lower insulin sensitivity than their normal weight and overweight peers, meaning that their bodies break down glucose less efficiently. Poor insulin sensitivity may ultimately lead to diabetes mellitus if the pancreas is unable to secrete enough insulin to compensate for reduced glucose use.

The study shows that impaired insulin sensitivity, which generally accompanies obesity, may serve as a mediator between midlife obesity and cognitive decline later on. Researchers chose to examine insulin sensitivity because insulin helps regulate people's metabolism and also affects cognitive functions.

The study exemplifies the aim of Haley's lab, which is to use neuroimaging in middle-aged individuals to provide early identification of risk for cognitive decline later in life.

"Generally, very few people study the middle-aged segment of the population, but that's when many chronic diseases are first identified and neurodegenerative processes are triggered," says Haley. "We found that while behavioral performance of obese middle-aged individuals may be the same — they can complete the same cognitive tasks as normal weight individuals — their brain is already doing something different to produce that outcome."

Haley and Gonzales are planning a follow up study to determine if a 12-week exercise intervention can reverse the observed differences in brain response.

For more information, contact: Gary Susswein, College of Liberal Arts, 512 471 4945; Andreana Haley, Clinical Neuroscience Lab, 512-232-0863; Mitzi Gonzales, Clinical Neuroscience Lab, 512-232-0863.

Gary Susswein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utexas.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

nachricht Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>