Middle-Age Obesity Linked to Dementia Among Elderly
Posted on May 2, 2011
A study published in the journal Neurology reports that people who are obese in middle age are almost four times more likely than those of normal weight to develop diseases that lead to dementia in later life.
Exactly why obesity leads to an increased likelihood of dementia is not understood, but researchers note that fatty tissue produces more hormones than any other organ in the body, many of which are known to be harmful. —ARK
The study, published in the journal Neurology, examined data on more than 8,500 people over the age of 65. Of the sample, 350 had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia and a further 114 had possible dementia.
... Exactly how excess weight can influence the degradation of the brain is not certain, but Xu said there could many possible mechanisms. “Higher body fat is associated with diabetes and vascular diseases, which are related to dementia risk,” she said.
In addition, fatty tissue is the largest hormone-producing organ in the body and it can produce inflammatory molecules which may affect cognitive functioning or the process of neurodegeneration.
Sorensen said that further research was needed to find the links between being overweight and dementia. “One in three people over 65 will die with dementia, yet research into the condition is desperately underfunded.”
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