How your belly can predict when you’ll get dementia 70



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If you’re carrying extra weight at this stage of life, you probably already know that it is bad for your health, but new research shows that being overweight has devastating impacts on your brain as well.

Scientists have long suspected that the increase in rates of both obesity and Alzheimer’s disease is no coincidence, but this is the first study to look closely at just how excess weight and dementia are linked.

Now a team from the US government-affiliated National Institute on Ageing has found that having a BMI (Body Mass Index) just one point over your safe level speeds up the onset of dementia for people aged 50 or over by almost seven months.

This means people who are seriously obese in middle age could develop the neurodegenerative disease a whole decade before they would have if they were a healthy weight.

This research is incredibly terrifying considering 75 per cent of Australians aged 65-74 years are considered overweight or obese.

 “We think these findings are important because they add to a substantial amount of knowledge about how obesity affects Alzheimer’s disease,” lead author Dr Madhav Thambisetty said, as reported in The Telegraph in the UK.

“But more importantly, it indicates if we can maintain a healthy body mass index even as early as midlife, it might have long-lasting protective effects towards delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease decades later.”

Body Mass Index is worked out by dividing a person’s height by their weight. For most adults an ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while 30 to 39.9 is obese, and 40 or more is morbidly obese.

The researchers studied 1300 people aged over 50 for an average of 14 years, testing them every two years for cognitive ability and weight. Over that period 142 people went on to develop dementia.

Those who were overweight or obese developed Alzheimer’s far more quickly, on average 6.7 months sooner for each extra point of BMI over their normal weight.

Of the people who died during the study, it was found that those with high BMI had far more neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Society manager Dr Clare Walton, said, “We know dementia can begin to develop years or maybe decades before symptoms begin and so keeping healthy through midlife and into later life is important for reducing dementia risk.”

Will these findings make you redouble your efforts to achieve or maintain a healthy weight? Does the prospect of dementia concern you?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. What a brave woman! I really don’t wish to know. Ignorance is bliss as far as I am concerned when it comes to dementia.

    2 REPLY
    • Why is she brave Philomena? Cant see her face and even if we could her body is pretty good.. we are not spring chickens anymore!!

    • That’s absolutely right because if any of us get dementia we are oblivious to it! It’s not us who have to look after us or be sad for us – it’s just our families! I think, Philomena, if there is something we are told we can do to avoid it, it would be very well worth knowing!

  2. Rubbish.
    I have seen many people with dementia over the years and many were slim or normal shape.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with Darrell, rubbish article. My father was as lean in his 90th year as when he was demobbed from the services, but his mind was totally gone.

  3. Most of my elderly relatives who had dementia were slimmer and some considerably fitter than those who didn’t. Not sure I believe this.

    3 REPLY
    • Tend to agree, one I remember in particular was a walking freak, she was so slim and fit, and had been a wonderfully acomplished woman. Seems no particualar reason for it sometimes, The others amongst the worst with dementa came from all walks of life. So it is hard to pick what causes it.

    • They are still trying to work it out. I did the University of Tasmania’s MOOC course and the Professor said it is the same for other illnesses people just get them and don’t always fit into the category. Maybe for my dad it was the concussions he had throughout his cycling career and work, every thing else was fine.

  4. This lady looks alright to me! It is normal to put on extra weight as we age. Stay a little active etc and you will be fine. Eating like a sparrow will do you no good. All this hype about dementia… to much!!

    1 REPLY
  5. This is just more hype to get money for research or for fad diets. Just bulldust. Over 60 and we become the rat labs.

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