With the constantly increasing epidemic of obesity that has spread worldwide, scientists have had their hand full with trying to fight it. So, experts in the field are performing as many studies as possible in order to find connections, discover secret relationships, or even attempt to encounter the cause of obesity. But sometimes, these studies seem a little bit of a stretch, like the new study which ties obesity to poor memory.
A small study led by Dr. Lucy Cheke from the University of Cambridge, UK, has found a connection between being overweight and having a poor memory. There are multiple things potentially wrong with the study, but I will get into those later on. For now, here is a quick overview of the study.
For the research, the team looked a small sample of 50 participants aged 18 to 35. Their BMIs (Body Mass Index) were between 18 and 51, with 26 of the participants being considered lean and 24 being considered overweight or obese.
The study participants were asked to partake in a sort of computerized treasure hunt, where they had to hide items. Then, a memory test followed over the next couple of days, with the participants being asked to remember where, when, and which items they hid.
Results showed that the participants with a higher BMI had a poorer performance during the memory test. They did not decrease in efficacy as the difficulty of their tasks increased, however, suggesting there was something more to it. The ages, genders, and education level did not predict the performance, but they might have affected the outcome in a different way.
This led the researchers to conclude that memory, especially episodic or short term memory is affected by being overweight. From this, the premise that a person’s BMI somehow influences how well they remember eating their last meal was formed, despite the team getting several things wrong.
Critics to the study
For one, the BMI has already been declared to be a non-scientific scale of measure, which currently being used solely out of convenience, despite the fact that several studies showed that it doesn’t really reflect the truth about a person’s health.
Second of all, the study was observational. This means that the researchers didn’t find a cause-effect relationship between being overweight and having a poor memory, but just a link. So, it’s equally likely that a poor memory in fact causes a higher BMI, or that something else related to either of them influences the other one.
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