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Senior citizens who lost weight from middle age at risk of cognitive impairment

Study says this weight loss a marker for mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

Senior citizen after weight lossFeb. 17, 2016 - A popular cause for research now days is to discover things that suggest to senior citizens that they are likely to develop dementia. The latest purveyor of bad tidings is a study declaring that senior citizens who have lost weight steadily as they aged from midlife to late senior citizen status are at higher risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

MCI is an early stage of dementia with about 5 percent to 15 percent of people with MCI progressing to dementia per year.

Changes in body mass index (BMI) and weight have been associated with increased risk of dementia, but previous study findings have been inconclusive, according to this article published online by JAMA Neurology.

The motivation for the study was that an association of declining weight and BMI with MCI could possibly help discover preventive strategies for MCI.

Rosebud O. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and coauthors studied participants age 70 or older from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, which started in 2004. Height and weight in midlife (40 to 65 years old) were collected from medical records.

Over the follow-up of 4.4 years, 524 of 1895 cognitively normal participants developed incident MCI (50.3% were men; mean age, 78.5 years).

The rate of average weight change per decade from midlife to when they entered the study was greater for participants who developed MCI vs those who remained cognitively normal.

A greater weight loss per decade was associated with an increased risk of MCI.

A weight loss of 5 kilograms (176.37 ounces or 11 pounds) per decade corresponds to a 24% increase in risk of MCI. A higher decrease in BMI per decade was also associated with incident MCI.

Those who developed MCI were older, more likely to be carriers of the APOE*E4 allele and more likely to have diabetes, hypertension, stroke or coronary artery disease compared with study participants who remained cognitively normal. The e4 version of the APOE gene increases an individual's risk for developing late-onset Alzheimer disease.

Participants who developed MCI had a greater average weight change per decade from midlife than those who remained cognitively normal (-4.4 lbs vs. -2.6 lbs.

A greater decline in weight per decade was associated with an increased risk of incident MCI, with a weight loss of 11 pounds per decade indicating a 24 percent increased risk of MCI, according to the results.

The authors note it was not possible to determine whether weight loss was intentional or unintentional.

“In summary, our findings suggest that an increasing rate of weight loss from midlife to late life is a marker for MCI and may help identify persons at increased risk of MCI,” the study concludes.

>> More information on this study




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