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The Link Between Obesity and Brain Function

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Though weight loss is primarily about consuming fewer calories than you burn, there are many other factors that can subtly influence how much weight a person gains or loses. It turns out that the brain may influence metabolism, the rate at which the body burns calories, because the brain controls most bodily functions. More specifically, new research suggests that the brain may tell the body to burn more or less calories depending on oxygen levels. Here’s what seniors and their Oklahoma live-in home care providers need to know about this recent development.

The study was conducted by Professor Supriya Srinivasan for the Scripps Research Institute, and focused on the relationship between oxygen sensing in the brain and fat metabolism. Researchers examined a group of genes that are related to sensory perception in certain types of flatworms. They slowly ruled out genes that did not affect fat metabolism and ultimately zeroed in on one gene. This gene had previously been linked to neurons that sense oxygen levels.

By looking at the activity of these neurons more closely, the researchers discovered that fat reserves were affected by the neuronal activity. If oxygen levels were high, the brain would tell the body to burn more fat. Conversely, if the levels were low, the brain would tell the body to burn less fat. The researchers theorize that this is because the body sees high oxygen levels as a sign of low food availability nearby.

It is possible that these findings may also relate to humans. These findings may be particularly important for seniors since they tend to have lower oxygen levels because of diminished lung capacity, and it’s common for seniors to struggle with obesity. Though no specific research has been done on humans, it’s possible that exposure to more oxygen will help people burn fat more quickly and efficiently. The researchers of the study hope to open up the doors to more studies for the link between brain function, sensory processes, and metabolism.

When seniors struggle with weight, it can seriously hinder other aspects of daily life and even their health. Give your loved one the help he or she needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle by turning to Home Care Assistance in Oklahoma. We provide flexible live-in and hourly care to accommodate your loved one’s unique needs and establish a balanced routine that promotes health and wellbeing. Our highly trained caregivers assist seniors with physical activity and nutritious meal preparation to ensure your loved one maintains a healthy lifestyle during his or her golden years. Call us today at 405-285-4191 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our comprehensive services.