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Obesity can lead to Poor Memory, Study Says

Update Date: Feb 27, 2016 10:02 AM EST

Obesity can affect one's memory, a new study is reporting.

The study's researchers wanted to examine the link between memory and weight. Previous studies have suggested that gaining excessive amount of weight can lead to changes in the brain.

"It is possible that becoming overweight may make it harder to keep track of what and how much you have eaten, potentially making you more likely to overeat," Dr. Lucy Cheke, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, said in a press release. "The possibility that there may be episodic memory deficits in overweight individuals is of concern, especially given the growing evidence that episodic memory may have a considerable influence on feeding behavior and appetite regulation."

For this research, the team tested episodic memory in 50 participants between the ages of 18 and 35 who had a body mass index (BMI) that ranged from 18, which is considered to be healthy, to 51, which would be classified as severely obese. The participants were required to "hide" certain objects at different times in several scenes that were presented on a computer screen.

During the two days after the experiment, the participants were asked to recall where and when they had hidden the objects.

The researchers found that the scores in obese participants were 15 percent lower than the scores in skinnier people.

"The suggestion we're making is that a higher BMI is having some reduction on the vividness of memory, but they're not drawing blanks and having amnesia," Dr. Lucy Cheke, from the University of Cambridge, told the BBC News. "But if they have a less strong memory of a recent meal, with a less strong impact in the mind, then they may have less ability to regulate how much they eat later on."

The study was published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

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