Higher BMI is associated with smaller regional brain volume in older adults with type 2 diabetes

Rebecca K. West*, Abigail Livny, Ramit Ravona-Springer, Barbara B. Bendlin, Anthony Heymann, Derek Leroith, Xiaoyu Liu, Hung Mo Lin, Hagit Hochner, Yechiel Friedlander, Ithamar Ganmore, Amir Tirosh, Michal Schnaider Beeri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Aims/hypothesis: There are established relationships between adiposity (obesity) and higher dementia risk, faster cognitive decline and associated neural injury. Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to greater adiposity and has been consistently associated with neural injury and poor cognitive outcomes. However, although obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, there is limited evidence on the association of adiposity with brain atrophy among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Methods: We examined the association of BMI (a measure of adiposity), and of long-term trajectories of BMI (three empirically identified groups of trajectories—‘normal’, ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’—using SAS macro PROC TRAJ), with regional brain volume, in a sample of older individuals (aged 64–84) with type 2 diabetes participating in the Israel Diabetes and Cognitive Decline Study (n = 198). Results: Using linear regression, we found that greater BMI was associated with smaller volumes of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) (r = −0.25, p = 0.001) and the middle temporal gyrus (r = −0.19; p = 0.010) after adjusting for sociodemographic covariates and total intracranial volume. In addition, there were significant differences between BMI trajectory groups in IFG volume (F = 4.34, p = 0.014), such that a long-term trajectory of obesity was associated with a smaller volume. Additional adjustment for cardiovascular and diabetes-related potential confounders did not substantively alter the results. There were no associations of adiposity with superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus or total grey matter volumes. Conclusions/interpretation: In older adults with type 2 diabetes, long-term adiposity may have a detrimental impact on volume of brain regions relevant to cognitive functioning. Further studies to identify the underlying mechanisms are warranted. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2446-2451
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Adiposity
  • BMI
  • Brain volume
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Inferior frontal gyrus
  • Middle temporal gyrus
  • Type 2 diabetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Higher BMI is associated with smaller regional brain volume in older adults with type 2 diabetes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this