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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

How paternal obesity may impact a child’s risk of dementia

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LANCASTER (CU)_Obesity has been linked to a variety of health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. New research led by Lancaster University is looking at the effects of paternal obesity on the brains of adult children in the long run.

The £350,000 study is led by Dr Cheryl Hawkes with Dr Neil Dawson from Biomedical Life Sciences and fellow team members from the Universities of Southampton, Kent, Loughborough and Exeter. “Harmful changes are present in the brain for decades before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear. It is now widely recognised that parental health at conception and during pregnancy is a key driver of long-term health. Emerging evidence suggests that children born to obese fathers have lower IQ and poorer memory compared to children of lean fathers,” says Dr Hawkes.

The study will be conducted with data collected from 3 generations of participants in the Framingham Heart Study to evaluate memory, thinking skills as well as brain structure and markers of Alzheimer’s Disease in the adult children and grandchildren of obese and lean men.

The Framingham Heart Study was initiated in 1948 in the city of Framingham in the USA, to explore cardiovascular health in local persons. Findings from the research have shed light on current information on the effects of diet, exercise and medicines such as aspirin on heart disease. The researchers will also bring about paternal obesity in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease to evaluate the behavioral and cellular alterations in the brains of adult offspring.

Dr Dawson stated that findings from the study will provide significant information with regard to if paternal obesity raises the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease that will have the ability inform future public health messaging and give new targets for interventional strategies to lower the amount of Alzheimer’s Disease cases.

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