Australian researchers discover link between weight and Alzheimer’s

Researchers find a link between obesity and shrinkage in the brain.

Obesity linked to Alzheimer’s

If you have been putting on weight due to a change in your eating and exercise routine under COVID-19 restrictions, there is serious cause for concern.

Australian researchers have found a link between obesity and shrinkage in an area of the brain responsible for memory and learning – the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain impaired in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, with the study’s findings shedding new light on the possible drivers of the disease. 

The researchers analysed brain scans from more than 20,000 healthy men and women aged between 40 and 70 years and found smaller hippocampus volumes in those who either currently or previously carried excessive weight or suffered from obesity.

Ananthan Ambikairajah, a PhD scholar from the Australian National University (ANU), said the findings emphasised the importance of maintaining a normal weight for brain health.

“We examined the link between fat mass and the brain because previous research has shown that having excessive fat mass in midlife can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 35 per cent,” Mr Ambikairajah said.

“We found that people who suffered from obesity or carried excessive weight had a smaller hippocampus than those who maintained a normal weight.

“It was surprising to find that people who suffered from obesity or carried excessive weight in the past, but currently had a normal level of fat mass, also had a smaller hippocampus than those who always maintained a normal weight,” he said.

“The hippocampus is one of the few regions that actually continues to form new cells as you get older and is often the first area of the brain to be impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study shows just how important it is to maintain a healthy amount of fat mass throughout life for both men and women.” 

Have you been putting on weight during COVID-19 restrictions? Will you start exercising again now that restrictions are being eased?

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    COMMENTS

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    21st May 2020
    10:28am
    A healthy amount of 'fat mass' should read a healthy amount of 'good fat mass', there is a huge (mind the pun) differenced.
    Simple, you won't get fat if you don't eat it.
    older&wiser
    21st May 2020
    10:54am
    From my personal experience, it is the total opposite. I unfortunately know 4 people with Alzheimer's, and all are small skinny little sparrows. One lady is her normal weight of 52 kilos - the same weight when they got married 48 years ago, as her full time carer husband states.
    With vivid being so new, I seriously doubt figures could be relied upon.
    older&wiser
    21st May 2020
    10:55am
    Dear spell check doesn't recognise the word - should say - with COVID-19 being so new...
    Anonymous
    21st May 2020
    12:37pm
    The post is about Alzheimer's relation to obesity and the hippocampus, not corvid-19.

    Interesting point though, we don't really know much about corvid-19 regarding it's mutation, long term effects etc.
    Anonymous
    21st May 2020
    12:51pm
    I have read that weight loss does become more common as the Alzheimer's and/or dementia progresses, this may the reason with your friends.
    Jen50
    21st May 2020
    9:35pm
    I agree with you. All the people I know who have or have passed away with Alzheimer’s have been thin and when I have visited nursing homes the people with dementia always seem to be thin. Jeannie Little who used to be a popular Australian TV personality has always been thin and she, sadly, has Alzheimer’s.
    Rosret
    22nd May 2020
    11:06am
    Mine too. All the people I know with dementia are usually very thin.
    Mez
    21st May 2020
    3:14pm
    Interesting news!
    neil
    21st May 2020
    3:16pm
    I told my doctor I was losing weight but getting fatter, he said go for a walk.
    neil.
    neil
    21st May 2020
    3:16pm
    I told my doctor I was losing weight but getting fatter, he said go for a walk.
    neil.


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