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OnMedica – News – Dementia risk for older people who lose weight or gain considerable weight



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Doctors should monitor weight changes to prevent dementia

Adrian's Dowd

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Older people with significant increases in weight or weight loss may have a higher risk of developing dementia, according to a study * of South Korea published today in the online magazine t Open BMJ.

With increasing life expectancy and an aging population, dementia is an increasing health problem. In 2015, 46.8 million people were diagnosed with dementia.

Meanwhile, the prevalence of global obesity, closely associated with cardiometabolic diseases, has increased by over 100% over the last four decades.

There is current evidence of possible association between cardiometabolic risk factors (such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar) and dementia. However, the link between a body mass index (BMI) late in life and the risk of dementia remains unclear.

So, a team of researchers from the Republic of Korea investigated the link between BMI changes over two years and dementia in an elderly Korean population.

We examined 67,219 participants aged 60-79 who had a BMI measurement in 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 as part of the National Health Service Health Screening Team in the country.

At the start of the study period, features were measured including BMI factors, socio-economic status and cardiometabolic risk factors.

The difference between BMI at the start of the study period and during the next health screening (2004-2005) was used to calculate the change in BMI.

After two years, the incidence of dementia was monitored for an average of 5.3 years between 2008 and 2013.

In the 5.3 years of subsequent time, there were a total of 4,887 men and women with dementia and 6,685 respectively.

The results showed that there appears to be a significant link between late BMI changes and dementia in both sexes.

Rapid weight change – an increase or decrease of 10% or higher in BMI – over a two year period it was associated with an increased risk of dementia compared to a person with a fixed BMI.

However, the BMI at the beginning of the period was not related to the incidence of dementia in either sex other than low body weight in men.

After breaking the figures based on BMI at the start of the study period, the researchers found a similar link between BMI change and dementia in the normal weight subgroup, but the pattern of this society varied. in other BMI ranges.

Cardiometabolic risk factors, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes and fasting high blood sugar were significant risk factors for dementia.

This is an observational study, so it cannot establish a case, but the study contained a large amount of data and reported various risk factors that can be adapted in terms of dementia late in life.

The researchers concluded: “Weight gain and weight loss can be significant risk factors associated with dementia. This study revealed that severe weight gain, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking and reduced physical activity late in their lives had a detrimental effect on the development of dementia.

“Our results suggest that managing ongoing pressures, managing disease and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are beneficial in preventing dementia, even later in life.” T

Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said: “Although this research suggests that rapid changes to our weight in later life could increase the risk of dementia, it is difficult to distinguish between cause and effect.

“People with early dementia can often report changes in appetite and diet. Understanding how lifestyle changes throughout our lives can affect our risk of dementia is crucial, which is why we are funding the UK's largest study focusing on mid-life dementia risk factors. ”


* Park S, Jeon S-M, Jung S-Y, et al. The effect of changing the weight of life late on the incidence of dementia: a 10-year cohort study using claim data in Korea. BMJ On Open 2019; 9: e021739. DOI: 10.1136 / bmjopen-2018-021739

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