Scientists link this type of fat to elevated risk of Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the Radiological Society of North America have made a groundbreaking discovery linking a specific type of body fat, visceral fat, to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (Source: Healthline).
While obesity has long been recognized as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, this research marks the first time a direct correlation has been established.
Especially between this specific fat type and the risk of developing the neurodegenerative condition.
Visceral fat, situated in the abdominal cavity and often referred to as “hidden fat,” constitutes a small portion of an individual’s body mass.
Despite being invisible from the outside, its proximity to vital organs makes it a critical factor in health.
The study presented at the RSNA Annual Meeting revealed a significant association between visceral fat and early signals of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Heather M. Snyder, the Alzheimer’s Association’s Vice President of Medical and Scientific Relations, emphasized the importance of the study, despite its size.
While acknowledging prior large-scale studies linking factors like body mass index (BMI) and obesity to later-life memory changes and potential dementia, this research seeks to delve into the associations between obesity, BMI, brain structure, and overall health concerning Alzheimer’s.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from 54 participants aged 40-60, all clinically obese with an average BMI of 32. Using MRI scans, the team measured visceral fat and subcutaneous fat, the more common type found beneath the skin.
MRI brain scans were also conducted to observe potential associations between brain volume and visceral fat, with a particular focus on the cortex’s thickness—a region controlling essential functions like language, reasoning, and memory.
As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, it is known to destroy neurons and connections in the cortex, leading to volume loss or “shrinking.” Additional tests, including glucose tolerance tests and PET scans focusing on amyloid plaques and tau tangles, were employed to assess biomarkers for inflammation and Alzheimer’s development.
The implications of this research extend beyond understanding the correlation; it opens up new avenues for preventive measures by targeting fat loss.
The findings encourage individuals to adopt healthier lifestyle changes, especially concerning weight management, in earlier stages of life to potentially mitigate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
As research continues to uncover the intricate links between body composition and neurodegenerative conditions, proactive measures become increasingly vital in promoting overall brain health.
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