儿童肥胖与大脑智力差异相互关系的研究
Study strengthens link between childhood obesity and brain differences
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2019-12-28 13:14
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火星译客

New results from the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health are raising provocative questions about a link between obesity and brain function.

针对大脑发育和儿童健康的规模最大的长期研究最新结果向肥胖与大脑功能之间的联系提出了极具挑衅的质疑。

Does excess body weight somehow reduce regions in the brain that regulate planning and impulse control? Is obesity a result of that brain difference? Or are eating habits, lifestyle, family circumstances and genetics to blame?

体重过重是否会以某种方式减少大脑中负责计划调节和冲动控制的区域?肥胖是否是大脑差异的结果?还是应归咎于饮食习惯、生活方式、家庭环境和遗传因素?

Previous studies in children and adults have produced conflicting results. And the new research, which appears this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, doesn't settle the matter either. Indeed, experts cautioned that the results could unfairly perpetuate weight stigma.

此前针对儿童和成人的研究结果相互矛盾,而本周发表在《美国医学会杂志·儿科》上的新的研究也同样没有解决这个问题。的确,专家警告说,研究结果可能让对体重的歧视不公平地永久化。

But an editorial published with the study called it an important addition to mounting evidence of a link between weight, brain structure and mental function.

但是一篇伴随该研究结果发表的社评称,这次研究为证明体重、大脑结构和心智功能之间联系的证据提供了重要补充。

If follow-up research confirms the findings, it could lead to new ways to prevent obesity by targeting improved brain function.

如果后续研究证实了这一发现,则可以找到通过靶向改善大脑功能以预防肥胖的新方法。

“We don't know which direction these relationships go, nor do they suggest that people with obesity are not as smart as people at a healthy weight,”said Dr. Eliana Perrin, a professor of pediatrics at Duke University and co-author of the editorial.

“我们不知道这些联系的发展方向,也不知道是否他们说明肥胖者不如保持健康体重的人聪明。”杜克大学儿科博士埃莉安娜·佩林(Eliana Perrin)说道,她也是这篇社评的作者之一。

The federally funded study involved 3,190 U.S. children aged 9 and 10. Researchers measured their height and weight, which allowed them to determine their body mass index. Nearly 1,000 kids — almost 1 in 3 — had a BMI that classified them as overweight or obese, similar to national statistics.

这项由联邦政府资助的研究涵盖了3190名9岁和10岁的美国儿童。研究人员测量了他们的身高和体重,以确定这些儿童的体重指数(BMI)。 与国家统计数据接近,将近1000名儿童(差不多三分之一的比例)的BMI显示超重或肥胖。

All of the children had MRI brain scans and took computer-based tests to assess mental functions such as memory, language, reasoning and impulse control.

所有孩子都进行了核磁共振(MRI)脑部扫描,并在计算机上进行了考试,以评估他们的心理功能诸如记忆、语言、推理和冲动控制能力。

The MRIs of the heaviest children revealed slightly less volume in the brain region behind the forehead that controls what are known as “executive function” tasks. They include things like ability to plan, control impulses and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

体重最重的孩子的核磁共振结果显示,其额头后面大脑的容积略少。该区域控制所谓的“执行功能”任务,包括计划、控制冲动以及同时处理多项任务的能力。

The differences compared with normal-weight kids were subtle, said study author Scott Mackey, a neuroscientist at the University of Vermont.

佛蒙特大学的神经科学家斯科特·麦克基(Scott Mackey)指出,与正常体重的儿童相比,差异很小。

The heaviest kids also had slightly worse scores on computer-based tests of executive function. But Mackey and study leader Jennifer Laurent, an obesity researcher at the University of Vermont, said it's unknown whether any of the differences had any meaningful effect on children's academic functioning or behavior.

在通过计算机考试的执行功能测试中,体重最重的孩子得分也略差。 但是,麦克基和研究负责人——来自佛蒙特大学的肥胖研究员珍妮弗·洛朗(Jennifer Laurent)表示,尚不清楚这些差异对儿童的学术功能或行为是否产生了有意义的影响。

It's also unclear exactly how these differences are related to weight. It's likely other factors not measured in the study — including physical activity and healthy nutrition — play a far greater role, Mackey said.

同时,对于这些差异如何与体重之间联系的也不清楚。 麦克基说,这项研究中未测量的其他因素(包括体育锻炼和健康营养)可能起着更大的作用。

Research in adults has linked obesity with low-level inflammation throughout the body, which can damage blood vessels and may increase risks for heart disease and mental decline. Some studies have also found less brain volume in obese adults, and researchers theorize that it could be due to inflammation.

对成年人的研究表明,肥胖与整个身体的轻度炎症有关,而炎症会对血管造成损伤,并可能增加心脏病和智力下降的风险。 一些研究还发现肥胖成年人的大脑体积较小,研究人员推测这可能是由炎症引起的。

The new study raises the possibility that inflammatory changes affecting weight, brain structure and function begin in childhood.

这项新研究将影响体重、大脑结构和功能的炎症变化始于儿童时期的可能性提高了。

Still, the results leave many questions unanswered, said Marci Gluck, a research psychologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, who was not part of the research.

同时,未参与本次研究的美国国家糖尿病、消化系统和肾脏疾病研究所(NIDDK)的研究心理学家马克·格鲁克(Marci Gluck)提到,上述结果仍然留下了许多未解之谜。

“Executive function deficits and ‘intelligence' are not the same,” Gluck said.

格鲁克说道:“执行功能的缺陷和'智力'是不一样的。”

Natasha Schvey, an obesity researcher at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., called the study impressive. But she noted that eating habits and obesity are influenced by many factors, including metabolic and psychological differences.

娜塔莎·施维(Natasha Schvey)是马里兰州贝塞斯达市健康科学统一服务大学的肥胖症研究员,她认为这项研究令人印象深刻。 但她指出,饮食习惯和肥胖受许多因素影响,包括新陈代谢差异和心理差异。

“We know from a lot of really good research that obesity is not as much in an individual's control as we think it is,” she said.

她说:“我们从许多不错的研究中知道,对于肥胖的个体可控程度并没有像我们认为的那样高。”

“People talk about willpower — that's a very small part of the equation. There are much bigger contributors to our weight and a lot of it is genetic. That's not to say it's immutable.”

“人们谈论意志力,但这只是方程式的一小部分,还有影响体重更大的因素,其中很多是遗传因素。 这并不是说它是一成不变的。”

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