Relationship between Obesity and MRI Conventional and non-conventional MRI Outcomes in Healthy Adults Without Neurological Disease
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Introduction . There is evidence that obesity contributes to lesion formation, axonal damage and brain volume loss. Objective . The effect of obesity on brain damage was examined assessing microstructural tissue damage (Diffusion-tensor imaging, DTI) and lesion and brain volume outcomes. Methods . 151 healthy individuals (HIs) without neurologic disease were included in the study, of which 35% were classified as having normal weight (Body Mass Index, BMI, <25), 36% were classified as overweight (BMI, 25–29.9) and 29% were classified as obese (BMI, ≥30). MRI outcomes included lesion and brain volumes, and DTI fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD) and gender specific FA. Results . In HIs with a BMI ≥30, there was a significant increase in the juxtacortical T2 lesion volume compared to normal and overweight subjects. There was a positive association between increased DTI FA in gray matter and the whole brain and increased BMI. The DTI FA of whole brain was 0.253 (SD = 0.0194) in BMI, <25 group, 0.258 in BMI, 25–29.9 group and 0.264 in BMI, ≥30 (p=0.02). No differences between the BMI groups were defined for the brain volumes. Conclusions . We confirmed that HIs with greater BMI have greater lesion volume in the brain. BMI increase was also associated with changes in structural integrity throughout the whole brain and GM using DTI measures, and especially in females. This study adds to the growing body of evidence that obesity can have negative health consequences, and must be looked at as an emerging threat to our society.