What do obesity and Alzheimer’s disease have in common? (Yikes!)

There’s a lot of talk out there about whether or not obesity is something we need to control.

That chatter comes from empowering people to feel good about themselves—and to get healthy in other ways.

While I feel very strongly about people accepting who they are and not beating themselves up about it, there are hard facts that we must live by.

And the truth is, the more obese we get as a society, the harder it will be to ever come back from it. (It’s called epigenetics.)

So, while psychologically speaking, I’m all for self-love, no matter what the package, let’s look at new research that reveals a startling similarity between obese individuals… and those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Brain shrinkage

In a recent study, researchers found similar patterns of brain atrophy, specifically in gray matter, among obese patients and those with AD.

(Brain atrophy describes a loss of neurons—and the connections that allow them to communicate within the brain to perform normal functions.)

In fact, after comparing MRIs of 1,000 participants, excess weight seemed to contribute to greater brain atrophy. And the greater the loss, the higher the risk for cognitive decline and, eventually, AD.

Now, the brain scans of obese patients didn’t correlate with the typical mapping of amyloid plague or tau protein accumulation. And this is what some research contributes to the cause of AD. I don’t share that same opinion—and I’m not alone in that belief.

Even so, while the mechanism behind how or why obesity may cause your brain to deteriorate is unclear…

What is clear is that there IS a connection. And that’s eye-opening enough for me!

Focus on controllable changes

Understanding the complexities of weight management is something that I am quite passionate about.

Indeed, I have spent a good part of my life, both professionally and personally, battling my own weight issues and those of my patients.

Ultimately, we know that obesity is a modifiable risk factor for many illnesses. And now, AD is yet another.

Not only can excess weight management likely slow down cognitive decline and lower the risk for AD—but it will also help stave off hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and MORE.

And at the end of the day, it’s really quite simple: moderate and take charge of your lifestyle by regularly exercising, eating a healthy diet, and staying socially and cognitively engaged!

To learn more ways to protect your memory and fight dementia, check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan.


“Similar Brain Atrophy in Obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease.” Medscape, 01/31/2023. (medscape.com/viewarticle/987704)