Midlife obesity linked to Alzheimer’s

Results of a new study have been released which show that being obese or overweight in middle age leads to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The National Institute on Aging (NIH), worked with volunteers who participated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), in one of the longest running studies into the effects of ageing ever undertaken in North America.

The study, led by Madhav Thambisetty, explored the relationship between weight, as measured by body mass index (BMI) at age 50, and Alzheimer’s disease. It discovered that being obese or overweight at midlife may lead to the onset of dementia at an earlier age than if patients were of a healthy weight.

Of the 1394 BLSA volunteers who participated, more than 10 per cent developed Alzheimer’s. Volunteers were cognitively healthy at the commencement of the study and they underwent cognitive testing every two years for 14 years.

For each unit increase in BMI at age 50, the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms were accelerated by nearly 7 months for those who eventually developed the degenerative disorder.

Higher midlife BMI was also correlated to higher levels of neurofibrillary tangles, which is an indicator of the disease, even for those who do not develop the condition.

It also showed that those with higher midlife BMI had more amyloid deposits in the region of the brain that often shows the earliest signs of dementia.

Although researchers admit that further studies are required to pinpoint the relationship between BMI at midlife and Alzheimer’s onset, these findings do suggest that maintaining a healthy weight, especially at midlife, may be a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s

Read more about this at www.nia.nih.gov

So, what’s new? We’re all aware that being overweight is bad for your health, but now it’s been proven to negatively affect your mental health as well. Do you watch your weight? If not, will the results of this study encourage to you to be more mindful of your midsection and, consequently, your mind?

Watch this video explaining this study.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?
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