Friday, September 25, 2015

Mid-life Obesity Linked to Earlier Age of Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

BMI Caliper
A higher body mass index (BMI) during mid-life is linked to an earlier age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Analyzing data from cognitively normal adults who later developed Alzheimer’s, researchers found that each unit increase in BMI at age 50 lowered the age when Alzheimer’s symptoms first appeared by six and-a-half months.

The authors also found that a higher BMI at mid-life may be associated with a greater amount of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. Specifically, higher mid-life BMI was associated with increased levels of tau tangles – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s – even among people who did not develop the disease.

This study adds to the body of scientific evidence linking mid-life obesity and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in later life. And, it complements the growing scientific consensusthat managing cardiovascular risk factors – such as obesity – can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and possibly dementia. 

Public Health Roadmap E-05The Public Health Road Map, a guide for public health officials to promote cognitive health – which was jointly developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Aging Program and the Alzheimer’s Association – encourages integrating brain health messages into existing prevention and awareness campaigns. Since many cardiovascular risk factors – including obesity – are modifiable, incorporating cognition concerns into existing obesity prevention and control campaigns and/or heart health efforts may not only improve cardiovascular outcomes but also future cognitive decline. 

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