Being overweight may lead to some brain injury in alcoholics, acording to a study released Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times wrote that “the trifecta of alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking and a high body may be linked with alcohol-related brain injuries.”
That story was based on a study described in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
That study analyzed data from 54 male veterans, from 28 to 66 years old, who “were dependent on alcohol and were in treatment and had not been drinking for about a month,” The Times wrote.
Researchers looked at several aspects of the men’s health, including their body mass index, or BMI. They also did brain magnetic resonance imaging on the men, as well as checking blood flow and the level of metabolites, byproducts of metabolism, in their brains.
The study found that those with a higher BMI often had low concentrations if N-acetylaspartate, a metabolite, in their central nervous systems. Lower levels of NAA can signal brain dysfunction, according to The Times.
“Excessive weight is not only a risk factor for cardiovascular disease or diabetes, but it is also a risk factor for deveoping dementia,” Stefan Gazdzinski, a researcher at Jagiellonian University in Poland and the lead on the study, said in a press release. “Knowing that individuals in develioped counries who overuse alcohol are usually heavier than individuals enjoying alcohol in moderation — because of the caloric intake — we wanted to investigate if excess weight accounts for some of the brain injury usually observed in alcoholics.”