A new study has linked midlife obesity to quicker onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It turns out that the weight you have when you are 50 will help determine how quickly you turn into an Alzheimer’s patient.
Health researchers say that the pounds you weigh during your midlife years will have something to say in how quickly you’ll develop the neurodegenerative disease. They noticed that test subjects who were overweight but had normal cognitive abilities at age 50, and later developed the disease, had an accelerated onset of Alzheimer’s.
In fact, the researchers revealed that every extra unit of body mass index that a person has when they’re 50, will speed up the onset of the neurodegenerative disease by no less than six and a half months. That’s more than half a year.
The National Institute on Aging has shared that the current number of Americans with this disease has passed 5 million. But even though this is not a comforting number, health researchers are still searching for the elements that lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Some field experts believe that it may be caused by a combination of age, family genetics and family history, while others have already embraced a recent study which pointed at eight (8) modifiable risk factors that may influence whether or not an individual ends up having the neurodegenerative disease. The main ones were high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and smoking status.
Dr. Madhav Thambisetty, Chief and Clinical Investigator from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging and the study’s lead author, offered a statement saying that “Understanding how risk factors in midlife may accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in later life is important in our efforts to develop interventions and treatments that may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s”.
He added that experts on the neurodegenerative disease have known for a while that people who are obese or overweigh at age 50 are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but none of them have managed to learn how this “may affect the age when the disease first begins”.
To reach these conclusions, the research team looked at information collected from 1.394 adults who had normal cognitive abilities. Each of the subjects had to undergo neuropsychological assessments roughly once in every two (2) years, for about 14 years straight, and 142 of them ended up developing Alzheimer’s disease by the time the study ended.
They compared these results and noticed that the subjects with a higher body mass index at the age of 50, experienced a faster onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
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