Belly fat in older adults linked with cognitive impairment

  • A large Irish study found that belly fat was linked to poorer cognition in older adults, while BMI was not, probably because it doesn't distinguish between muscle and fat.

Data from over 5,000 individuals found that a measure of belly fat (waist:hip ratio) was associated with reduced cognitive function in older Irish adults (60+). Body mass index (BMI), however, was found to protect cognitive function.

BMI is a crude measure of body fat and cannot differentiate between fat and muscle — the muscle component is likely to be the protective factor.

Research indicates that as we age, our fat becomes less efficient at producing a hormone that helps support the growth and survival of neurons and helps regulate their activity.

That hormone is adiponectin, which is made by fat cells, circulates in our blood and enters our brain. Inside fat cells, its production is regulated by PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma).

Adiponectin is anti-inflammatory and can help regulate neuronal activity, including turning activity of some neurons up and others down. However, adiponectin is reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Delivering adiponectin to the brain has been shown to improve cognition in mice.

Chronic stress can also decrease fat's production of PPAR-γ and adiponectin.

Fat cells become less efficient at making adiponectin in obesity, and with age. One theory is that fat cells start making inflammation-promoting signals called cytokines and this inflammation then inhibits adiponectin production.

The shift from beneficial subcutaneous fat to unhealthy fat that piles up on our bellies and around the organs inside our abdominal cavity is one that naturally occurs with age, but it is of course worse if you have a lot of excess weight around your abdomen.

Genetic variations in PPAR-γ and adiponectin as well as low blood levels of adiponectin are associated with an increased Alzheimer's risk.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/tcd-mob080118.php

Reference: 

Related News

A study involving 218 participants aged 18-88 has looked at the effects of age on the brain activity of participants viewing an edited version of a 1961 Hitchcock TV episode (given that participants viewed the movie while in a MRI machine, the 25 minute episode was condensed to 8 minutes).

A study involving 100 healthy older adults (aged 60-80) has found that those with higher levels of physical activity showed more variable spontaneous brain activity in certain brain regions (including the

A ten-year study involving 2,092 older adults (average age 76) has found that people tended to lose awareness of memory problems two to three years before the onset of dementia.

A large, five-year study challenges the idea that omega-3 fatty acids can slow age-related cognitive decline.

A large, two-year study challenges the evidence that regular exercise helps prevent age-related cognitive decline.

A study involving 97 healthy older adults (65-89) has found that those with the “Alzheimer’s gene” (APOe4) who didn’t engage in much physical activity showed a decrease in hippocampal volume (3%) over 18 months.

An Indian study involving 648 dementia patients, of whom 391 were bilingual, has found that, overall, bilingual patients developed dementia 4.5 years later than the monolingual ones. There was no additional advantage to speaking more than two languages.

A study, involving 371 patients with mild cognitive impairment, has found that those with depressive symptoms had higher levels of amyloid-beta, particularly in the frontal cortex and the anterior and posterior

A study involving 206 spousal and adult children caregivers of dementia sufferers (mostly Alzheimer’s) has found that about 84% of caregivers reported a clinically significant burden. Three factors were significant contributors to the burden:

A study involving 254 people with dementia living at home has found that 99% of people with dementia and 97% of their caregivers had one or more unmet needs, 90% of which were safety-related.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news