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Less muscle, more body fat may affect our intelligence, study

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 20-12-2019
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Less muscle, more body fat may affect our intelligence, study
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Less muscle and more body fat may affect how flexible our thinking gets as we become older, and changes in parts of the immune system could be responsible, a new study suggests. These findings from Iowa State University in the US, could lead to new treatments that help maintain mental flexibility in aging adults with obesity, sedentary lifestyles, or muscle loss that naturally happens with aging. The study, published in the journal "Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity", looked at the data from more than 4,000 middle-aged to older UK Biobank participants, both men and women.

"Chronological age doesn't seem to be a factor in fluid intelligence decreasing over time, it appears to be biological age, which here is the amount of fat and muscle," said study lead author Auriel Willette, Assistant Professor. For the findings, the research team examined direct measurements of lean muscle mass, abdominal fat, and subcutaneous fat, and how they were related to changes in fluid intelligence over six years.

They discovered people mostly in their 40s and 50s who had higher amounts of fat in their mid-section had worse fluid intelligence as they got older. Greater muscle mass, by contrast, appeared to be a protective factor. These relationships stayed the same even after taking into account chronological age, level of education, and socioeconomic status, the study said.
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