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Increased brain volume from cereal, decreased brain volume from coffee -- shared genetic determinants and impacts on cognitive function, body mass index (BMI) and other metabolic measures: cohort study of UK Biobank participants

By Jujiao Kang, Tianye Jia, Zeyu Jiao, Chun Shen, Chao Xie, Wei Cheng, Barbara J Sahakian, David Waxman, Jianfeng Feng

Posted 14 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.11.20210781

ObjectiveTo explore how different diets may affect human brain development and if genetic and environmental factors play a part. DesignCohort study. SettingUK Biobank data were collected from 22 centres across the UK. ParticipantsOnly white British individuals free of Alzheimers or dementia diseases were included in the study, where 336517 participants had quality-controlled genetic data, and 18879 participants had qualified brain MRI data. Main outcome measuresGrey matter volume, intake of cereal and coffee, body mass index and blood cholesterol level. ResultsWe investigated diet effects in the UK Biobank data and discovered anti-correlated brain-wide grey matter volume (GMV)-association patterns between coffee and cereal intake, coincidence with their anti-correlated genetic constructs. These genetic factors may further affect peoples lifestyle habits and body/blood fat levels through the mediation of cereal/coffee intake, and the brain-wide expression pattern of gene CPLX3, a dedicated marker of subplate neurons that regulate cortical development and plasticity, may underlie the shared GMV-association patterns among the coffee/cereal intake and cognitive functions. ConclusionsOur findings revealed that high-cereal and low-coffee diets shared similar brain and genetic constructs, leading to long-term beneficial associations regarding cognitive, BMI and other metabolic measures. This study has important implications for public health, especially during the pandemic, given the poorer outcomes of COVID-19 patients with greater BMIs.

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