Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Some days you wake up and you feel sharp and alert.

Then there are those other days when, somehow, your mind can't get anything right.

Other than that it should stop trying to function for a while.

Naturally, scientists have tried to understand the brain's mercurial ways for many years.

Which, some might grunt, is a waste of time given that humans will soon have chips in their heads that'll tell them what to think.

Still, I couldn't help but come over ashiver at a new study emerging from the University of Miami.

Study author Tatjana Rundek offered this disturbing summation: 

People with bigger waists and higher BMI [Body Mass Index] were more likely to have thinning in the cortex area of the brain, which implies that obesity is associated with reduced gray matter of the brain.

It's the sort of sentence that's slightly numbing.

But as if this wasn't sufficient to disturb readers, Rundek offered more painful portent: 

These associations were especially strong in those who were younger than 65, which adds weight to the theory that having poor health indicators in mid-life may increase the risk for brain aging and problems with memory and thinking skills in later life.

The researchers factored in health-related aspects such as alcohol use, high blood pressure and smoking.

Moreover, the average age of the researchees was 64 and two-thirds Latino.

Still, the suggestion is that the brains of overweight over-60s were up to 10 years older than those who managed to keep in shape.

The conclusions are surely disspiriting.

As Americans feel forced to work harder just to keep up -- this seems never to change -- they're confronted with more easy, unhealthy eating options and portions the size of Mount Rushmore. 

Life expectancy is actually falling in the U.S. and one can imagine that diet just might contribute.

This isn't to absolve humans of their poor choices, nor to suggest there's causation in these results.

It is, though, to wonder how our environment and culture contributes to those choices.

For her part, Rundek doesn't seem downhearted at all. She said: 

These results are exciting because they raise the possibility that by losing weight, people may be able to stave off aging of their brains and potentially the memory and thinking problems that can come along with brain aging.

She confessed, though, that world obesity is on the increase.

Which may suggest that even when our brains are functioning well, we lead ourselves -- or are led -- into potentially brain-altering decisions.

It doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

Published on: Aug 1, 2019
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