Study: Higher body mass index (BMI) linked to episodic memory deficits in young adults

brain_measuretapeObe­si­ty May Wors­en Episod­ic Mem­o­ry, Make It Hard­er To Keep Track Of Cer­tain Events (Med­ical Daily):

High body mass index (BMI) has been asso­ci­at­ed with cer­tain health risks, which may now include cog­ni­tive impair­ment, accord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary research pub­lished in The Quar­ter­ly Jour­nal of Exper­i­men­tal Psy­chol­o­gy. The study, led by researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge, found that young adults who are over­weight may have poor episod­ic mem­o­ry — a weak­ened abil­i­ty to recall past events com­pared to their nor­mal-weight peers…

Although only a small study, its results sup­port exist­ing find­ings that excess body­weight may be asso­ci­at­ed with changes to the struc­ture and func­tion of the brain and its abil­i­ty to per­form cer­tain cog­ni­tive tasks opti­mal­ly,” researchers wrote..“The pos­si­bil­i­ty that there may be episod­ic mem­o­ry deficits in over­weight indi­vid­u­als is of con­cern, espe­cial­ly giv­en the grow­ing evi­dence that episod­ic mem­o­ry may have a con­sid­er­able influ­ence on feed­ing [behav­ior] and appetite reg­u­la­tion,” Cheke added.

Study: High­er body mass index is asso­ci­at­ed with episod­ic mem­o­ry deficits in young adults (The Quar­ter­ly Jour­nal of Exper­i­men­tal Psychology)

  • Abstract: Obe­si­ty has become an inter­na­tion­al health cri­sis. There is accu­mu­lat­ing evi­dence that excess body­weight is asso­ci­at­ed with changes to the struc­ture and func­tion of the brain and with a num­ber of cog­ni­tive deficits. In par­tic­u­lar, research sug­gests that obe­si­ty is asso­ci­at­ed with hip­pocam­pal and frontal lobe dys­func­tion, which would be pre­dict­ed to impact mem­o­ry. How­ev­er, evi­dence for such mem­o­ry impair­ment is cur­rent­ly lim­it­ed. We hypoth­e­sised that high­er body mass index (BMI) would be asso­ci­at­ed with reduced per­for­mance on a test of episod­ic mem­o­ry that assess­es not only con­tent, but also con­text and fea­ture inte­gra­tion. A total of 50 par­tic­i­pants aged 18–35 years, with BMIs rang­ing from 18 to 51, were test­ed on a nov­el what–where–when style episod­ic mem­o­ry test: the “Trea­sure-Hunt Task”. This test requires rec­ol­lec­tion of object, loca­tion, and tem­po­ral order infor­ma­tion with­in the same par­a­digm, as well as test­ing the abil­i­ty to inte­grate these fea­tures into a sin­gle event rec­ol­lec­tion. High­er BMI was asso­ci­at­ed with sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er per­for­mance on the what–where–when (WWW) mem­o­ry task and all indi­vid­ual ele­ments: object iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, loca­tion mem­o­ry, and tem­po­ral order mem­o­ry. After con­trol­ling for age, sex, and years in edu­ca­tion, the effect of BMI on the indi­vid­ual what, where, and when tasks remained, while the WWW dropped below sig­nif­i­cance. This find­ing of episod­ic mem­o­ry deficits in obe­si­ty is of con­cern giv­en the emerg­ing evi­dence for a role for episod­ic cog­ni­tion in appetite regulation.

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