Obesity increases the risk of dementia

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Obesity increases the risk of later suffering from dementia

A French study found that people who were overweight suffered from reduced memory later in life. Using the long-term study, the scientists demonstrated that the risk of dementia with obesity is significantly increased, even if the test subjects did not suffer from complications such as diabetes or cardiovascular damage.

Those who are overweight have a higher risk of becoming demented. Research has confirmed the connection, which has long been suspected, that obesity (obesity) can have negative effects on the brain. To date, complications of obesity such as high blood pressure or diabetes have been seen as the cause of a deteriorating memory. The thesis contradicted the clinical observations that overweight people who otherwise had no sequelae showed a higher risk of developing dementia.

People are considered obese if they exceed the guideline value of 30 according to the Body Mass Index (BMI). Physicians speak of overweight with a value between 25 and 30, whereby the individual condition such as muscle mass and bone structure must be taken into account in the calculation.

A total of 6401 subjects (71.2 percent men) took part in the study by the research group "Acharna Singh-Manou" of the French research institute "Inserm". All participants had already reached the age of 50 when they started their studies. The long-term observation lasted over ten years. During this time, various medical and laboratory tests as well as memory tests were undertaken. "The subjects underwent four different cognitive tests (memory, reasoning, semantic and phonological tests)," explain the researchers in the neurological magazine "Neurology". These were carried out in the years 1997 to 1999, 2002 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009. At the end of the runs, an average score was determined for all participants. "At the end of the study, 31.0 percent of the participants showed metabolic disorders such as diabetes, 52.7 percent maintained their normal weight, 38.2 percent suffered from obesity and 9.1 percent were already obese," the authors write.

Obesity favors mental decline
"During the ten years of the study, the scores of the tests in obese and people with abnormal metabolic values ​​fell 22.5 percent faster than those with normal weight and without cardiovascular diseases," the scientists report. Subjects who were not metabolic complaints such as high blood pressure, disturbed blood lipid levels or high blood sugar but were still overweight showed differences in the evaluation of the tests compared to fat and normal weight. The researchers conclude: "Our analysis showed the fastest cognitive decline in patients with obesity and the metabolic syndrome."

According to the head of the neurological department at the University Clinic in Kiel, Prof. Dr. Günther Deuschl, there is "no healthy obesity". Although the participants did not show any manifested dementia, the examination analysis showed that their "cognitive abnormalities can lead to this in the long run".

Fat narrows vessels
Nevertheless, one can only speculate about the context of obesity and brain disorders. The scientists suspect that “vascular-dependent disorders can be considered as the cause because fat accumulates in the vessels and they constrict more and more”. The second theory of the cause research states that the adipose tissue secretes hormones, which in turn affect the performance of the brain.

In addition to being overweight, according to the neurologist, underweight is also not healthy for humans. Deutschl emphasized: “Humans live longest and remain mentally and physically healthy when they are of normal weight. Regular sporting activity and an active intellectual and social life are the best preventive measures against dementia. "

Dementia risk increased by 80 percent
A twin study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has already reached a similar result. "Being overweight in middle age increases the risk of dementia in old age by 80 percent," is the researchers' conclusion at the time. A permanent BMI value of 25 is enough to increase the risk of illness by 80 percent. (sb)

Read on:
Being overweight increases the risk of dementia
World Alzheimer's Day: experts warn of dementia
Being overweight shrinks the brain
Severe overweight increased dramatically worldwide

Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

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