The spare tires many U.S. adults carry around their middles have been linked to a buildup of fatty tissue in the brains of the weight loss researchers studying them, contributing to decreased cognitive ability.
A group of thin researchers discovered the link while studying a group of obese researchers - who were coincidentally studying the link between weight and dementia in women before and after menopause.
The results of the first group's study showed that total body mass had an effect on the cognitive abilities of the second group, affecting how they interpreted the results of their own study on the effects of diet before and after menopause.
"Obesity and a higher body mass index are not good for your cognition or your memory," said lead study author Alice Hattering, an assistant professor of medicine at WestNorthern University, in a prepared statement. "The added weight appears to have had a detrimental effect.
"Not only that," she continued, "obesity and a higher body mass index are not good for your cognition or your memory. The added weight appears to have had a detrimental effect."
"It's incredible," said Gaia Smith, part of the healthy team who studied Hattering and her associates. "These scientists still don't understand the mechanisms behind these correlations. They say fat may contribute to the formation of plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease or restricted blood flow to the brain, and that differences in fats and individual physiologies influence cognitive performance or cause dementia.
"Fair enough, but that's just icing on the cake ... which is part of the problem," she said, pointing at the pile of food on Hattering's desk. "And so is that ice cream, and those cream puffs, the puffed corn snacks; and those French fries, and fried cheese, and that cheese whiz, too; not to mention that bacon double cheeseburger and the fried chicken.
"Lucky thing you're having a diet cola," she added, shaking her head.
"Unfortunately, it's too late for this group of researchers. They'll never see the big picture because they've already fallen victim to the very same phenomenon they're studying. The refined sugars and high fat foods they've been eating don't contain enough of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients required to keep their brains healthy and functioning properly as they grow older, leading to the onset of dementia.
"They should have eaten more fresh fruits and vegetables," she added, "just like we've been saying since the Carter administration."
"Is that so?" said Hattering, washing down a portion of fried cow with several servings of high fructose corn syrup and turning to look at her reflection in a mirror. "Well, Alice, I suppose I shall have to take my own word for it, because I certainly don't know of anyone around here who got fat eating broccoli, bananas, beans, beets, berries, bran and Brussels sprouts ...
"Now I'm investigating foods that begin with the letter 'C'. Chocolate? Oh, yes, chocolate! That'll do ... Let's don't be silly. Now, cheeseburgers? That's different ...
"Why is a cow on a bun like a satirist's desk?"