Middle-aged people who have excess abdominal fat may have a higher risk of developing dementia, according to findings published in the American Neurological Associations online journal, Annals of Neurology.
More than 730 participants, 70 percent of whom were female patients, were enrolled into the study. The average age of participants was 60 years old. A team of researchers measured the body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and measurements of abdominal fat of each patient. The researchers also did several scans of the patients that measured both brain volume and function.
The results of the study showed a stronger connection between an increased BMI and lower brain volumes in the older participants than in the younger patients. The team also discovered that these individuals would more likely develop Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia later in life.
“Our data suggests a stronger connection between central obesity, particularly [abdominal obesity], and risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease,” said Sudha Seshadri, lead author and a researcher from the Boston University School of Medicine.
Approximately 5.3 million people in the United States were diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and it was the seventh leading cause of the death in 2006, according to the Alzheimers Disease Association.