Fat: it's good for lewd and cruel jokes, but it's not so good for your health - including that of your brains. It eats them!

Okay, well, "eat" may not be the proper, scientific term, but a new study from a team headed by UCLA neurology professor Paul Thompson indicates that obesity - and its accompanying fat - can clog up that pretty little head, lead to "brain shrinkage," and may eventually cause dementia.

People with higher body mass indexes had smaller brains on average, with the frontal and temporal lobes - important for planning and memory, respectively - particularly affected.... While no one knows whether these people are more likely to develop dementia, a smaller brain is indicative of destructive processes that can develop into dementia.

The team also found that the brains of the 51 overweight people were 6 per cent smaller than those of their normal-weight counterparts, on average, and those of the 14 obese people were 8 per cent smaller.

Yowzer! So, basically, fat folk have teeny-tiny little brains and the leaner masses can feel even more superior. Great!

Now, before you go out and ostracize the overweight - this means you, admonished New York Times Style writer Cintra Wilson - some scientists pin the blame not necessarily on fat, but on the dastardly brain itself. You see, the areas impacted by the atrophy are the same regions that control metabolism and eating behavior, like whether you shovel it in like a voracious beast.

Regardless, we're pretty sure there's no need to worry about a demented overweight person going on a premeditated rampage: remember, the frontal and temporal lobes control planning and memory, which means any potential onslaught will either be a) massively disorganized or b) abandoned completely in favor of voracious snacking. So, never fear! Unless you're overweight, in which case you and your brain should be very, very afraid.

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