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Overweight People Have Lower Levels Of A Key Molecule Linked To Brain Health

February 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
The molecule N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) in the hippocampus is associated with brain health. The  hippocampus is involved in memory, learning, appetite control and emotions. In this study, U.S. researchers using magnetic resonance spectroscopy were able to visualize the NAA molecule in the hippocampus, finding that overweight participants had lower levels in their brains than normal weight participants, an effect independent of age, sex or psychiatric diagnoses. The researchers acknowledged further research is needed because they didn’t whether "low NAA is a consequence of being overweight, causes being overweight, or is a combination of both”.
Jeremy D. Coplan et al., "Reduced hippocampal N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) as a biomarker for overweight", NeuroImage: Clinical, February 11, 2014, © Coplan et al.
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