The brains of middle-age adults may be aging prematurely if they have obesity or other factors linked to cardiovascular disease, new research has found.
Almost one-quarter of adults have metabolic syndrome, a set of factors that in combination amplify a person’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other illnesses. In the new research, participants were considered metabolically unhealthy if they had two or more such factors: high blood pressure; high blood sugar; high blood triglyceride levels; or low levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol – or if they took medicine for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging and tests of thinking skills to evaluate more than 2,100 women and men ages 37 to 55. Compared with the healthiest participants, those who were metabolically unhealthy, obese or both showed evidence of brain decline.