Baseline gray- and white-matter volume predict successful weight loss in the elderly

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Dec;24(12):2475-2480. doi: 10.1002/oby.21652. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether structural brain phenotypes could be used to predict weight loss success following behavioral interventions in older adults with overweight or obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction.

Methods: A support vector machine with a repeated random subsampling validation approach was used to classify participants into the upper and lower halves of the weight loss distribution following 18 months of a weight loss intervention. Predictions were based on baseline brain gray matter and white matter volume from 52 individuals who completed the intervention and a magnetic resonance imaging session.

Results: The support vector machine resulted in an average classification accuracy of 72.62% based on gray matter and white matter volume. A receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated that classification performance was robust based on an area under the curve of 0.82.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that baseline brain structure was able to predict weight loss success following 18 months of treatment. The identification of brain structure as a predictor of successful weight loss was an innovative approach to identifying phenotypes for responsiveness to intensive lifestyle interventions. This phenotype could prove useful in future research focusing on the tailoring of treatment for weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / anatomy & histology*
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • ROC Curve
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • White Matter / anatomy & histology*
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging