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Friday, February 27, 2004
Extra Weight and Alzheimer's Risk
Posted Feb 27, 2004 New research suggests that a woman carrying an extra 20 pounds in her 70s could be at a substantially increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in her 80s, according to Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. Scientists in Sweden followed 400 people in Goteborg for 18 years, from age 70 to 88. The relationship between weight at age 70 and the development of Alzheimer's disease from ages 79 through 88 was "striking," the scientists said. For every 1-unit increase in body mass index over healthy weight (roughly the equivalent of 5 to 7 pounds), a woman's risk of getting Alzheimer's later on increased by 36 percent. The average body mass index, or BMI, of 70-year-old women who developed Alzheimer's was 29, or about 170 pounds for someone 5 feet 4 inches tall. A healthy weight and BMI, for 5 feet 4 inches tall is 125-145 pounds. The same link between weight and Alzheimer's didn't show up for men. Researchers said they might have had too few men in the study to make a statistical association. Just how excess weight leads to dementia wasn't clear. However, like heart disease, dementia is at least partly a vascular problem, researchers say. The heavier a person is, the more likely he or she is to have high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which can lead to compromised blood flow to crucial brain and heart tissue. - Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. date: Feb 24, 2004
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