While many bodily processes slow down for residents of independent living communities, some scientists are suggesting that the effects of an inefficient metabolism may be playing out in seniors' mental skills.
A new study from UCLA teased out the link between obesity and the amount of brain tissue remaining for seniors, and the researchers are now saying that extra weight may be impacting one's mind in retirement living conditions.
"That's a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer's and other diseases that attack the brain," said lead author Dr Paul Thompson.
"But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control."
The areas most affected were those that control planning, memory and movement, the scientists noted, causing the brains of obese seniors to look 16 years older than those of more fit study participants.
It is a new complication of obesity for the elderly that also include the onset of diabetes, with half of all cases occurring in seniors according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.