A new study suggests being overweight or obese can increase the risk of dementia. Significant loss of brain tissue was seen among elderly women with higher body mass indexes.
Researchers say their study indicates that a high BMI is a risk factor for dementia in women and obesity is another factor that should be actively intervened upon to reduce diseases of advanced aging.
For the study 290 women born between 1908 and 1922 were involved in the study and were followed from 1968 to 1992. A computed tomography (CT) scan conducted at the final exam found nearly 50 percent of the women had lost brain tissue, mainly in the temporal lobe. Women with this loss of brain tissue had an average BMI of 27, about one- to 1.5-points higher than women without the brain loss.
Thus specialists suggest obesity might increase the secretion of the hormone cortisol, which could lead to brain atrophy. They also say that obesity is linked to numerous other conditions including stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, all of which have also been associated with a higher risk of dementia.