Obesity and Mental Illness: Implications for Cognitive Functioning
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A priority research and clinical agenda is to identify determinants of cognitive impairment in individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders (NPD). The bidirectional association between NPD and cognitive performance has been reported to be mediated and/or moderated by obesity in a subset of individuals. Obesity can be conceptualized as a neurotoxic phenotype among individuals with NPD as evidenced by alterations in the structure and function of neural circuits and disseminated networks, diminished cognitive performance, and adverse effects on illness trajectory. The neurotoxic effect of obesity provides a rationale for screening, treating, and preventing obesity in neuropsychiatric populations. Research endeavors that aim to refine mediators and moderators of this association as well as novel strategies to reverse the injurious process of obesity on cognition are warranted.
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