Prenuvo’s AI-Assisted Research Reveals Link Between Visceral Abdominal Fat and Midlife Brain Atrophy

August 10, 2023

By Sam Hashemi, Head of Artificial Intelligence at PrenuvoPaper Collaborators: Cyrus Raji, Somayeh Meysami, Sam Hashemi, Saurabh Garg, Nasrin Akbari, Thanh Duc Nguyen, Ahmed Gouda, Yosef Gavriel Chodakiewitz, Rajpaul Attariwala

At Prenuvo, we are excited about the role of AI in advancing and understanding human health. It’s why we are intently researching its use with our whole-body MRI imaging dataset. Our goal over time through the use of AI is to improve patient outcomes by catching warning signs of disease progression earlier, even those that are too small to be detected even by the best medically trained eye.

Our goal with our investment in AI is to understand the body’s normal aging process even better so that we can find ways to maintain our brain and overall health. At the 2023 American Academy of Neurology, we partnered with a renowned team of researchers, scientists, and doctors, to learn more about brain health and how early detection can play a pivotal role in the outcomes of chronic neurological diseases that become more common as we age.

The Connection with Body and Brain:

Our physical health impacts brain health, and numerous studies have already explored their correlation. But because our whole-body MRI imaging screens the entire body, we have been able to discover fascinating correlations across different organs. One such revelation is the connection between body biomarkers, such as visceral abdominal fat and our brain volume changes. Read on to learn more about our study:


7507 anonymized, consenting healthy individuals ages 27-66 across North America participated in this study.

AI Research Models

AI research models analyzed Prenuvo’s whole-body MRI scans to study age-related changes in the brain and body. Advanced deep learning models examined 96 brain regions and identified visceral abdominal fat, providing valuable insights into its association with brain health.


Our research found strong evidence suggesting a close correlation between visceral abdominal fat and brain volume. Higher visceral fat was associated with lower brain volumes, including both gray and white matter. This correlation was particularly notable in the age groups of 20-39, 40-59, and 60-80, indicating that the negative effects of belly fat on the brain become more pronounced as we age.


Further longitudinal research is needed to understand the mechanisms, but these findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and minimizing visceral fat. Beyond its known links to heart disease and diabetes, visceral abdominal fat also affects brain health. Future work will also tease the relationships between subcutaneous fat and brain health.

A Novel Connection

In conclusion, our research has uncovered a novel and exciting connection between visceral abdominal fat and changes in brain volume. This discovery highlights the potential significance of managing visceral fat as a pathway to supporting brain health as we age. While chronic low-grade inflammation caused by visceral fat has long been associated with the development of various health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammatory disorders, our study sheds new light on its impact on brain health.

By recognizing the correlation between visceral fat and brain health, we gain valuable insights into the broader implications of maintaining a healthy weight and minimizing visceral fat. Addressing this aspect of our health may not only help prevent a range of physical ailments but also contribute to the preservation of cognitive function and overall brain well-being. As we continue to advance our understanding of this relationship, we open doors to potential interventions and lifestyle changes that can promote both a healthier body and a sharper mind throughout the aging process.

Read the complete published paper here.

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