EP311: Fat Bellies and Skinny Brains


Welcome to my podcast. I am Doctor Warrick Bishop, and I want to help you to live as well as possible for as long as possible. I’m a practising cardiologist, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and the creator of The Healthy Heart Network. I have over 20 years as a specialist cardiologist and a private practice of over 10,000 patients.

This episode discusses a study finding that both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat are linked to lower brain volume in middle-aged adults. Visceral fat around the organs and subcutaneous fat under the skin were associated with brain atrophy on MRI scans, especially in women. Excess abdominal fat was found to predict reductions in total gray and white matter as well as specific brain regions.

While the effects were small for individuals, trends emerged across large samples. Lifestyle factors like physical activity and diet were not fully accounted for. The research suggests abdominal fat may help explain previously reported connections between obesity and cognitive decline.


  • Abdominal fat, both visceral fat around the organs and subcutaneous fat under the skin, is linked to lower brain volume according to a new study of over 10,000 middle-aged adults.
  • Higher amounts of both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat predicted lower total gray matter and white matter brain volume.
  • The hippocampus, frontal cortex, and other brain regions also showed lower volumes associated with increased abdominal fat.
  • Women appeared to have a higher burden on brain atrophy from increased visceral fat compared to men.
  • While statistically significant, the effect sizes of visceral fat on gray matter changes were generally small in individuals.
  • The study was cross-sectional so it cannot determine if increasing fat causes brain shrinkage.
  • Lifestyle factors like physical activity and diet that could impact this relationship were not fully accounted for.
  • Previous studies linked obesity to cognitive decline and dementia risk, and this study suggests a potential mechanism.
  • Reduced brain volumes may be tied to problems with thinking, memory, and everyday tasks.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle both physically and mentally could help minimize risks.

Australia, like the rest of the western world, has a heart problem.

Over 9 million people around the world die from heart disease every year.

Every 10 minutes, someone in Australia suffers a heart attack. And 21 lives are lost daily because of it.

The devastating fact in all of this is… 

Almost every one of those cases could have been prevented. 

This podcast is for anyone who wants to improve their health literacy and gain information to help them make the best decisions about their risk of heart attack, their cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of diabetes, weight loss and general health. Join me on my personal mission journey to prevent Heart Attack on a global scale. If you like this podcast, I would be honoured by a 5-star review and appreciate if you let your friends and family know about this podcast; you may even save the life of someone you love!

Are You at Risk of a Sudden Heart Attack? How Healthy is Your Heart? Really?

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the Western World. In Australia, someone dies every 28 minutes from heart disease. That’s 51 people a day. In the US, someone has a heart attack every 40 SECONDS! Fortunately, many heart attacks are preventable. However, regular exercise and eating healthy are no guarantee you won’t succumb to this silent killer.

  • 94% of Australians have at least One Risk Factor for heart disease.
  •  59% of Australians have been Touched by heart disease.
  •  Yet only 3% of Australians have had a Full Heart-Health Assessment in the past 12 months.

Do the free heart check today at www.virtualheartcheck.com.au

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The Healthy Heart Network is designed to help members:

  • understand the present state of their heart’s health
  • recognise their current level of risk of suffering a heart attack
  • Learn the positive steps they can take to improve their situation

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