Obesity and the brain. Improving the brain by losing weight?

Thursday 15 June 2023, 10:30 am
PhD student
D. Vreeken
prof. dr. A.J. Kiliaan, prof. dr. E.J. Hazebroek (WUR)
dr. M. Wiesmann

An increasing amount of people is suffering from severe overweight, also known as obesity. Obesity increases the risk of health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Multiple studies also show that obesity has a negative impact on the brain. How can obesity affect the brain and what happens after weight loss? In this thesis we have studied these questions. Our research showed that white adipose tissue may play a role in the link between obesity and the brain and that weight loss after gastric bypass surgery is associated with cognitive improvement in some of the patients. Reduced inflammation and changes in hormones produced in white adipose tissue seem to play a role in this. Altogether, the link between obesity and the brain is very complex, but there is hope because weight loss seems to contribute to a healthier brain.

Debby Vreeken (1994) obtained her Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Radboud University in 2017. Afterwards she started immediately with her PhD research at the department of Medical Imaging, Anatomy at the Radboudumc and Vitalys, obesity clinic, part of Rijnstate Hospital. Currently, she is working as Country Approval Associate at PPD, a clinical research organization.