“I have even changed my own eating habits after the findings of this research. You just can’t ignore the data,” said Beeri.
Prof. Beeri has been involved in a number of pioneering studies on obesity. One team investigated middle-aged adult obesity and its effects on the brain 40 years later. She also tracked elderly diabetics and found that greater obesity (higher BMI) is associated with smaller volumes of certain areas of the brain. This result suggests the presence of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Obesity is a lifelong issue. An obese child can have self-confidence issues at 17, heart problems at 40 and Alzheimer’s at 60 or 70. Obesity is also a main cause for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a host of other problems that are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Beeri.
Joining researchers from several leading hospitals in Israel and the United States, Prof. Beeri recently proposed a significant grant to the National Institute on Aging for pioneering research that follows the lifelong effects on children born to obese parents. Initial data in animal models demonstrates that the offspring of mothers who are obese during pregnancy are at an increased risk for obesity later in life. Additionally, these offspring have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s, because obesity affects brain development.