(STUDY FINDS) -- CHICAGO -- Childhood obesity is associated with a number of adverse complications, ranging from serious physiological conditions like diabetes or heart disease, to psychological stress caused by negative self-image or poor performance in physical activities. However, a new study finds that childhood obesity may even cause brain damage, affecting the areas of children’s brains in control of emotions, cognitive functions, and appetite control.
It’s no secret that childhood obesity is on the rise, especially in the United States. Since the 1970s, the percentage of American children classified as obese has more than tripled. Recently, evidence has begun to surface indicating that obesity can also cause inflammation in the nervous system, which could consequently damage integral brain areas.
New developments in MRI technology, such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), allowed researchers from the University of São Paulo in Brazil to investigate this matter more thoroughly. DTI enables scientists to track the diffusion of water within the human brain’s signal carrying white-matter pathways.
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