Dementia and Alzheimer's disease increased risk from being overweight and obese in middle age years

elderly man

(Best Syndication News) - Dementia increased in people that were overweight or obese during middle age years said a recent study that was published in the May 3, 2011 issue of the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal, 'Neurology.'

Weili Xu, MD, PhD, with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden was the study's author, who along with colleagues, investigated data from the Swedish Twin Registry of 8,534 twins age 65 or older. The researcher found 350 people diagnosed with dementia and another 114 people who possibly had dementia. Also the research looked at the people's height and weight 30 years prior to see if there was a correlating risk factor for being overweight or obese and developing dementia.

Based on the height and weight, the researchers calculated the body mass index (BMI) calculation and placed each person into a group of either underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. A total of 2,541 twins were classified as being overweight or obese in middle age. They used the BMI and dementia data to see if there was an increased risk with being heavier at an earlier age causing higher rates of dementia later on in life.

The study results showed overweight or obese people had an 80 percent increased risk for developing dementia, Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia in their old age compared to those with normal weight BMI ratings in their middle age years.

However, the researchers compared one twin that was overweight or obese to their sibling twin that was of normal weight and found that the significant relationship to developing dementia in old age was not observed. The researchers suggest that both environmental factors as well as genetics play a role in whether or not a person develops dementia.

BY: N Wilson

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