THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Higher weight in childhood is associated with worse neurodevelopmental outcomes, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 in Chicago.
Simone Kaltenhauser, Ph.D., from Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues assessed the relationship of preadolescents' weight and body mass index (BMI) with microstructural, morphological, and functional brain magnetic resonance imaging metrics. The analysis included data from 5,169 children (aged 9 to 10 years) from 21 U.S. centers (overweight, 21 percent; obese, 17.6 percent).
The researchers found that higher weight and BMI-z-scores were associated with lower fractional anisotropy (FA) values in 16 and 25 tracts, higher FA values in one and no tracts, lower axial diffusivity values in 23 and 30 tracts, higher radial diffusivity (RD) values in five and 10 tracts, lower RD values in three and no tracts, lower neurite density (ND) values in 11 and 13 tracts, and higher ND values in five and one tracts, respectively. FA reductions were most pronounced in the corpus callosum, fornix, and (parietal and temporal) superior longitudinal fasciculus for both weight and BMI-z-scores. With increased weight and BMI-z-scores, thinning of 63 and 54 cortical regions, higher surface area of 52 and 26 cortical regions, and significant disruptions in 37 and 31 internetwork and intranetwork correlations, respectively, were seen.
"Increased BMI and weight are not only associated with physical health consequences but also with brain health," Kaltenhauser said in a statement. "Our study showed that higher weight and BMI z-scores in 9- and 10-year-olds were associated with changes in macrostructures, microstructures, and functional connectivity that worsened brain health."