Study Title
Visceral and Subcutaneous Abdominal Fat Predict Brain Volume Loss at Midlife in 10,001 Individuals
Aging & Disease

Cyrus A. Raji, Somayeh Meysami, Sam Hashemi, Saurabh Garg, Nasrin Akbari, Ahmed Gouda, Yosef Gavriel Chodakiewitz, Thanh Duc Nguyen, Kellyann Niotis, David A. Merrill, Rajpaul Attariwala


Abdominal fat is increasingly linked to brain health. A total of 10,001 healthy participants were scanned on 1.5T MRI with a short whole-body MR imaging protocol. Deep learning with FastSurfer segmented 96 brain regions. Separate models segmented visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat. Regression analyses of abdominal fat types and normalized brain volumes were evaluated, controlling for age and sex. Logistic regression models determined the risk of brain total gray and white matter volume loss from the highest quartile of visceral fat and lowest quartile of these brain volumes. This cohort had an average age of 52.9 ± 13.1 years with 52.8% men and 47.2% women. Segmented visceral abdominal fat predicted lower volumes in multiple regions including: total gray matter volume (r = -.44, p less than.001), total white matter volume (r =-.41, p less than .001), hippocampus (r = -.39, p less than .001), frontal cortex (r = -.42, p less than.001), temporal lobes (r = -.44, p less than.001), parietal lobes (r = -.39, p less than.001), occipital lobes (r =-.37, p less than.001). Women showed lower brain volumes than men related to increased visceral fat. Visceral fat predicted increased risk for lower total gray matter (age 20-39: OR = 5.9; age 40-59, OR = 5.4; 60-80, OR = 5.1) and low white matter volume: (age 20-39: OR = 3.78; age 40-59, OR = 4.4; 60- 80, OR = 5.1). Higher subcutaneous fat is related to brain volume loss. Elevated visceral and subcutaneous fat predicted lower brain volumes and may represent novel modifiable factors in determining brain health.

August 28, 2023
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