Your Brain Size Can Be Affected by Bad Habits

Bad Habits Actually Shrink Your Brain

A recent study conducted by the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center confirms a shocking fact about bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, eating junk food and avoiding exercise. brain size Not only do these bad habits degenerate cognitive function, they actually shrink your brain.

For the study, researchers put participants through a series of tests, including measures for:

    1. Obesity
    2. High blood pressure
    3. Diabetes
    4. High cholesterol

Seven years later, they found that all 4 of those risk factors were in fact associated with faster declines in brain size.

On cognitive tests, participants with any 1 of those 4 risk factors showed declines in executive function, the term used to describe many crucial skills of daily living, like:

  • Making decisions
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Paying attention
  • Remembering details

DeCarli believes that these factors could decrease brain size in the general population even more dramatically than in the study participants. That’s because the participants in the study were all generally healthy individuals.

    “It could be so much worse in a representative group of Americans,” said Dr. DeCarli. “The study certainly doesn’t represent the growing obesity problem seen in the South.”

Catherine Roe, an assistant professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, summed up the study results this way: “We know smoking and being overweight are bad for other parts of your health. This is just one more reason to get those bad habits under control.”