Leptin can reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease, it has been found.
Leptin is protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism. It has been dubbed a wonder hormone and was discovered around 1994. Leptin is produced by fat cells and sends a ''feeling full'' signal to the brain that reduces appetite. Apparently it can also reduce Alzheimer's risk.
US scientists sought to relate baseline circulating leptin concentrations
in a community-based sample of individuals without dementia
to incident dementia and Alzheimer's during follow-up and magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) measures of brain aging in survivors.
Circulating leptin was associated with a reduced
incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's and with cerebral brain volume
in asymptomatic older adults.
"During a median follow-up of 8.3 years, 111 participants developed incident dementia;
89 had Alzheimer's. Higher leptin levels were associated with a lower
risk of incident dementia and Alzheimer's," it was stated in the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Earlier research has shown that leptin reduces levels of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, a major component of the sticky deposits that are a key hallmark of Alzheimer's.
Study leader Dr Sudha Seshadri, from Boston University Medical Center in the US, said: ''If our findings are confirmed by others, leptin levels in older adults may serve as one of several possible biomarkers for healthy brain ageing and, more importantly, may open new pathways for possible preventive and therapeutic intervention.''