Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017

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Obesity increases dementia risk: Study

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Samia Haque: 2nd Dec'17: Obese people are at risk of developing dementia than those with a normal weight. The researchers found that each five-unit increase in body mass index (BMI) was associated with a 16-33 percent higher risk of this condition.

Five BMI units is 14.5kg for a person who is five feet and seven inches (170cm) tall.This study, published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia journal, suggests that maintaining a healthy weight could prevent, or at least delay, dementia. It was a large study involved data from 1.3 million adults.

Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause a long-term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think and remember that is great enough to affect a person's daily functioning. Other common symptoms include emotional problems, problems with language, and a decrease in motivation.

 The researchers also found that people near dementia onset, who then go on to develop dementia, tend to have lower body weight than their dementia-free counterparts.“People who develop dementia may have a higher-than-average body mass index some 20 years before dementia onset, but close to overt dementia have a lower BMI than those who remain healthy”, said the lead author of the study, Professor Mika Kivimaki of University College London. 

The study confirms both the adverse effect of obesity as well as weight loss caused by metabolic changes during the pre-dementia stage. A total of 1,349,857 dementia-free adults participated in these studies and their weight and height were assessed. Dementia was ascertained using linkage to electronic health records obtained from hospitalization, prescribed medication and death registries.

A total of 6,894 participants developed dementia during up to 38 years of follow-up. Two decades before symptomatic dementia, higher BMI predicted dementia occurrence, the study said. The researchers also found that mean level of BMI during pre-clinical stage close to dementia onset was lower compared to that in participants who remained healthy.