The Obesity-Alzheimer’s Disease Connection

September 3rd, 2015 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

A recent article by Dr. M. Thambisetty of the National Institute on Aging studied the effect of mid-life obesity on the age of onset of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Using data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging of 1,394 cognitively normal subjects followed for over 13 years, the research team found each BMI unit increase in mid-life predicts the onset of AD by over 6 months. The study did not indicate whether weight loss in mid-life would normalize the development of AD.

Another study has examined the literature for risk factors for developing AD. Nine risk factors were examined including current smoking, carotid artery narrowing, type 2 diabetes, low educational attainment, high levels of homocysteine, depression, high blood pressure and frailty. High or low BMI in mid-life and low educational attainment were associated with increased risk, whereas high BMI in later life, exercising one’s brain, current smoking (except for the Asian population) light to moderate drinking and stress were associated with lowered risk.

Recent research has identified an association between obesity and Type 2 Diabetes with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. (For background, see Health Effects.) Yet another study has found an accumulation of fat droplets in the brain of patients who died from Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers concluded that the build-up of fatty acids in the brain is not a consequence but a cause of the disease.