Dementia

21 September 2007

Obesity, dementia not linked

Being overweight or obese doesn't increase the odds that seniors will experience memory trouble, a new study finds.

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Being overweight or obese doesn't increase the odds that seniors will experience memory trouble, a new study finds.

"While past studies have found obesity in middle age increases a person's risk for dementia or Alzheimer's disease, our finding shows obesity in old age has no effect on a person's memory.”

“These findings are consistent with previous studies showing that weight loss or low body mass index in old age may be a precursor of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease," study author Dr Maureen T. Sturman, a researcher at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, said.

The six-year study included more than 3 800 people over the age of 65.

Of those, nearly 25 percent were obese (body mass index over 30), and 37 percent were overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9).

Risk no different in obese people
Participants underwent cognitive tests at regular intervals over the course of the study. Overweight or obese people did not experience significantly different changes in memory or cognitive function compared to those with normal weight. In fact, the researchers found that underweight people had more cognitive decline.

The study is published in the September 19 online issue of the journal Neurology.

"We do not know yet why being overweight or obese does not increase the risk of cognitive decline in old age; however, being underweight may be a correlate of the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease," Sturman said. - (HealthDay News)

Read more:
Mid-life obesity linked to dementia
Obesity, Alzheimer's link

 

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