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Does brain volume predict successfulness at weight loss?

Scientists at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre claim that they are able to predict an individual’s chances of success at weight loss with a simple brain scan and have published their findings in Obesity. The researchers used MRI scans to assess the amount of white and grey matter in the participants and were able to predict weight loss with 78% accuracy based on the brain volume. The study was performed with 52 people between the ages of 60 and 79, all participants were overweight or obese. They were scanned and then split into three separate groups, diet only, diet plus exercise, and diet plus resistance exercise. The scan results were then compared to their actual weight loss after 18 months.

The researchers hope to continue assessing people who want to lose weight, as those with a higher chance of losing weight may respond to less intensive treatments, whilst those with a lower chance may have to resort to more intensive routes. The study itself had a small sample size, therefore the researchers are hoping to perform follow-up studies with more people and to broaden the types of intervention used in order to improve the predictive nature of the scans.

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