For every excess pound piled on the body, the brain gets a little smaller.
That's the message from new research that found that elderly individuals who were obese or overweight had significantly less brain tissue than individuals of normal weight.
"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than their healthy counterparts while [those of] overweight people looked 8 years older," said UCLA neuroscientist Paul Thompson, senior author of a study published online in Human Brain Mapping.
Must of the lost tissue was in the frontal and temporal lobe regions of the brain, the seat of decision-making and memory, among other things.
The findings could have serious implications for aging, overweight or obese individuals, including a heightened risk of Alzheimer's, the researchers said.