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Tue. Mar 5th, 2024
The entire body and its health are affected by obesity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 55 million individuals worldwide suffer from dementia. Obesity has been identified as a modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia thought to impact 32 million people worldwide. Also, 21 of the 74 known genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease and obesity have been discovered by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

This, according to researchers, may help explain why adults who become obese in their middle years are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was published in the Alzheimer’s Association journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia. The results of the Framingham Heart Study’s 5,619 participants were released on February 22. Understanding the link between brain health and body weight is essential because by 2030, 85% of American adults are expected to be overweight or obese, and by 2050, dementia is expected to affect 131 million people worldwide.

The research team examined 74 genes from the Framingham study that were connected to Alzheimer’s.
Twenty-one of those genes were either over- or under-expressed in obesity. Gene expression refers to the activation of a gene in a cell to carry out tasks like producing a protein.

The study discovered a relationship between body mass index (BMI) and 13 genes related to Alzheimer’s. The waist-to-hip ratio, a second measure of obesity, was linked to eight genes. Many genes were more strongly associated with obesity in midlife than in later life, as well as with obesity in women as opposed to males.

These findings are consistent with earlier epidemiological research that revealed women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease may be influenced by midlife obesity. It’s interesting to note that roughly five to ten years before the onset of dementia, people tend to lose weight. This weight loss could be unhealthily caused by the illness.

Weightloss should be encouraged

Since obesity may be affecting the expression of the genes the team tested in midlife, in one’s 40s and 50s, the experts believe it is more crucial to address obesity and start a healthy weight loss programme then.

The waist-to-hip ratio, which assesses abdominal obesity (belly fat), instead of the more conventional BMI, may be a more sensitive indicator of a person’s metabolic dysregulation. One of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke, obesity is a part of the metabolic syndrome.

According to study first author Sokratis Charisis, MD, the 21 dementia-related genes linked to obesity are implicated in several Alzheimer’s disease processes, including neuro-inflammation, programmed cell death, and amyloid-beta protein deposition in neurons. Alzheimer’s disease has been connected to obesity in later life.

The majority of the participants in the Framingham Heart Study are white. Additionally, the study is purely observational; no interventions with drugs or devices are provided.

By Editor

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