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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Shrinkage! Bad Heart Habits Lessen Brain Volume Over Time

Want a full sized brain for life? Avoid smoking, excessive drinking, keep your weight, blood sugar levels and blood pressure all under control and you should be able to avoid brain volume mass shrinkage over time a new study suggests.

Persons with high blood pressure experienced a more rapid worsening of test scores of planning and decision making, which corresponded to a faster rate of growth of small areas of vascular brain damage than those with normal blood pressure.

Those study participants with diabetes in middle age experienced brain shrinkage in an area known as the hippocampus faster than those without, and smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus faster than nonsmokers, with a more rapid increase of small areas of vascular brain damage.

Finally, persons who were obese at middle age were more likely to be in the top 25% of those with faster declines in tests of executive function and were among the top 25% with a faster drop in brain volume. 

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