Obesity related to inflammation, kidney stress, or liver stress had the biggest impact on adverse brain health.Now, a world-first study from the University of South Australia’s Australian Center for Precision Health has found a link between metabolism and dementia-related brain measures, providing valuable insights about the disease.The study measured associations of six diverse metabolic profiles and 39 cardiometabolic markers with MRI brain scan measures of brain volume, brain lesions, and iron accumulation, to identify early risk factors for dementia.People with metabolic profiles linked to obesity were more likely to have adverse MRI profiles showing lower hippocampal and gray matter volumes, greater burden of brain lesions, and higher accumulation of iron.
Amanda Lumsden, says the research adds a new layer of understanding to brain health.Metabolic profile‐based subgroups can identify differences in brain volumes and brain iron depositionTo evaluate associations of metabolic profiles and biomarkers with brain atrophy, lesions, and iron deposition to understand the early risk factors associated with dementiaUsing data from 26 239 UK Biobank participants free from dementia and stroke, we assessed the associations of metabolic subgroups, derived using an artificial neural network approach (self-organizing map), and 39 individual biomarkers with brain MRI measures: total brain volume (TBV), grey matter volume (GMV), white matter volume (WMV), hippocampal volume (HV), white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume, and caudate iron depositionIn metabolic subgroup analyses, participants characterized by high triglycerides and liver enzymes showed the most adverse brain outcomes compared to the healthy reference subgroup with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low body mass index (BMI) including associations with GMV (βstandardized −0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] −0.24 to −0.16), HV (βstandardized −0.09, 95% CI −0.13 to −0.04), WMH volume (βstandardized 0.22, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.26), and caudate iron deposition (βstandardized 0.30, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.34), with similar adverse associations for the subgroup with high BMI, C-reactive protein and cystatin C, and the subgroup with high blood pressure (BP) and apolipoprotein B
Among the biomarkers, striking associations were seen between basal metabolic rate (BMR) and caudate iron deposition (βstandardized 0.23, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.24 per 1 SD increase), GMV (βstandardized −0.15, 95% CI −0.16 to −0.14) and HV (βstandardized −0.11, 95% CI −0.12 to −0.10), and between BP and WMH volume (βstandardized 0.13, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.14 for diastolic BP)
Associations of BMR, BP and other individual biomarkers may provide insights into actionable mechanisms driving these brain associations
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