New Study Ties Fat Hormone to Dementia Risk in Women

By Emily Murray

As the iconic ball dropped in Times Square signifying that a new year had begun, many reflected on their hopes and resolutions for better living in 2012. Perhaps the biggest resolution made by both men and women this year was weight loss and while some merely strive to fit into those “skinny jeans” from days past others may have their long term health in mind.

According to a new study, belly fat in women may actually be tied to dementia development, giving us another reason to cut back this year.

This week a report in the Archives of Neurology announced  that a hormone known as adiponectin plays a roll in brain function over time and may increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Study
In order to test the correlation between the fat hormone and brain function, the study authors looked at 841 men and women  who were relatives  of the much earlier generation of the Framingham Heart Study in the 1940’s. Of the 541 women who were screened for dementia over the years, 159 developed a form of degeneration with 125 of the cases resulting in Alzheimer’s. By studying these participants further, those involved in the study were able to make a confident assessment that those with higher levels of the fat hormone are 60% more likely to experience dementia and 90% more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

The Take Away
Many of us may inadvertently be increasing our risk for decreased brain function as we age. Exercise and proper diet are the top ways we can start to lower these risks. Research has found that exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can help the body not only physically but mentally as well. Aside from the long term effect on the brain, it has also been discovered that exercise can help improve mood and overall ability to concentrate.

Essentially, one study after the next seems to drive home the importance of warding off obesity in order to preserve our health. If you need extra motivation to get in shape and reduce your overall body fat this year, think about your health both today and in the future!