Discovered: A New Connection Between Excess Belly Fat And Dementia
A protein used by the liver to metabolize belly fat is also used by the brain's memory center. More belly fat increases the chances that the liver will steal some protein from the brain in order to do its job.
What's the Latest Development?
A study newly published in Cell Reports reveals that the link between excess belly fat and the onset of dementia may lie in a special protein called PPARalpha that's used by both the liver and the brain's memory center, or hippocampus. The liver needs PPARalpha to metabolize belly fat, and the more fat there is, the more protein it needs, to the point where it will begin robbing it from other parts of the body, including the hippocampus. Starved of the protein, the hippocampus can't do its job as well, which leads to difficulties in both learning and memory.
What's the Big Idea?
Other studies have attempted to connect obesity to dementia, but this is the first one to pinpoint the role of PPARalpha in hippocampus function. The study's authors, researchers at Rush University Medical Center, tested mice with varying levels of the protein in their livers and brains. They found that when they injected more of the protein into the brains of mice with depleted levels, their memory and learning skills improved. Team leader Kalipada Pahan says this discovery could lead to new treatment possibilities for Alzheimer's and similar memory disorders.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
It has found several bizarre planets outside of our solar system.
- The Kepler program closed down in August, 2018, after nine and a half years of observing the universe.
- Picking up where it left off, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already found eight planets, three of which scientists are very excited about, and six supernovae.
- In many ways, TESS is already outperforming Kepler, and researchers expect it to find more than 20,000 exoplanets over its lifespan.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
This economy has us in survival mode, stressing out our bodies and minds.
- Economic hardship is linked to physical and psychological illness, resulting in added healthcare expenses people can't afford.
- The gig economy – think Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Handy – is marketed as a 'be your own boss' revolution, but it can be dehumanizing and dangerous; every worker is disposable.
- The cooperative business model can help reverse wealth inequality.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.