Pass the Carbs I don't want Dementia?!
Medical advice has, for a long time, said that we can reduce our risk of dementia by keeping a healthy weight. The mantra was, and still is, that obesity is the enemy and ups our chances of dementia in old age. But now a large scale cohort study says being underweight in mid to late life significantly increases our risk factor for this group of diseases of which Alzheimer’s is one). It is confusing
Two million people in this large cohort retrospective research were investigated over two decades to look at the association between BMI (body mass index) and the risk of dementia. The findings were totally unexpected. People who were underweight (BMI <20 kg/m2 ) had a 34% - that’s a third higher - risk of dementia. The researchers also found the incidence of dementia continued to fall for every increasing BMI category, with very obese people (BMI>40 kg/m2 ) having a 29% lower dementia risk than people of a healthy weight. Over the 20 year time frame of the study it was found that these patterns persisted, that being overweight in midlife may actually be a protective.
So, why should the findings of thisUKstudy carried out by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and OXON Epidemiology be so different to previous studies? The truth is that we still do not know enough about the link between body weight and dementia. It means we need to do more research into this area and work out what are the most important risk factors to help protect us against dementia at a time when we are an aging world population. The current figures are that by 2050 there will be 115 million people worldwide with dementia.
For the moment resist the carbs because they do cause other diseases that can contribute to ill health and dementia such as diabetes! Positive lifestyle choices remain that we should keep our brains healthy by not smoking, exercising and by eating a balanced healthy diet.
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Dr Nawab Qizilbash et al. 2015. MI and risk of dementia in two million people over two decades: a retrospective cohort study MI and risk of dementia in two million people over two decades: a retrospective cohort study April ed.
Christine Kennard wrote about Alzheimer’s for HealthCentral. She has many years of experience in private and public sector nursing care homes for people with dementia. She has worked in a variety of hospital, public and private health settings and specialized in community nursing. Christine is qualified in group analytic psychotherapy, is registered in general and mental health nursing and has a Masters degree.