Conférence scientifique du centre de recherche HSJ

Heure : 12h
Lieu : Amphithéâtre 250 CHUSJ et par Zoom


Pour l’axe Cerveau et développement de l’enfant

Filip Morys, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Neurocognitive correlates of obesity across the lifespan.

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Excess weight accumulation and maintenance are increasingly recognised as disorders of the nervous system. Obesity, defined in adults as the body mass index (BMI) over 30kg/m2, is largely heritable and genes related to high BMI are predominantly expressed in the central nervous system. At the same time, obesity prevalence is influenced by the environment and can be curbed by environmental changes.

We found that genetic risk for obesity as expressed using polygenic risk scores is related to changes in the brain’s grey matter structure, which in turn is related to impulsivity and future weight gain. At the same time, we showed that chronic obesity in older adults leads to neurodegeneration, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease-like brain changes through metabolic syndrome constituents, such as type 2 diabetes or systemic inflammation. Building upon these findings, we created a model of bidirectional associations between obesity and the brain.

This talk will highlight our research efforts, including past, ongoing, and future work, aimed at understanding the biological and environmental mechanisms by which the brain becomes a vulnerability factor for obesity in children and adolescents, as well as identifying factors that lead to brain and cognitive changes in adults. By gaining deeper insights into these neurocognitive correlates, we aim to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies to combat the escalating rates of obesity in the population.