at the University of California-San Francisco have found that older men with
higher levels of fat are more likely to experience declines in cognitive
function, but the same link does not appear to occur in women.
study, Alka M. Kanaya, M.D., of the university and colleagues looked at 3,054
elderly individuals enrolled in the Health ABC Study.
adiposity (fat level) was assessed by body mass index, waist circumference,
sagittal diameter (distance between the back and the highest point of the
abdomen), total fat mass and subcutaneous (beneath the skin) and visceral fat
(fat between the internal organs) measured by computed tomography.
researchers found that men whose measurements were higher were more likely to
experience declines in scores on a cognitive functioning test administered at
the beginning of the study and again after three, five and eight years.
However, no link was observed in women.
show trends toward inverse associations, with higher levels of adiposity being
associated with less cognitive change," the authors said.
"Traditional metabolic factors, adipocytokines
[compounds produced by fat tissue] and sex hormones do not explain this sex
difference. Future studies should confirm these longitudinal associations with
adiposity and cognitive change and investigate why adiposity has inverse
associations in men and women," they added.