Having abdominal fat not only poses aesthetic problems but also affects an individual’s health by increasing the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Higher amounts of visceral abdominal fat in middle age increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.
Visceral fat is hidden fat discovered deep within a person’s abdominal cavity that coats the internal organs, including the liver and intestines. Certain levels of visceral fat help protect organs, but too much is a sign of metabolic syndrome linked to hypertension, obesity, high LDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. Visceral fats will be retained when a person consumes too many calories and takes too little exercise.
Researchers have discovered a link between these hidden fats and mental changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease, which could help predict the problem even 15 years before the first signs appear. The results will be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
“Even though other research has linked BMI to brain atrophy or perhaps greater risk of dementia, no previous studies have linked a particular type of fat to the specific protein of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal people. Comparable research has not investigated the differential position of visceral and subcutaneous fat, particularly as it relates to Alzheimer’s amyloid pathology, as early as midlife,” said study author Mahsa Dolatshahi, of the Washington College College of Medicine in St. Louis, in a press release. .
More than 6 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease that affects a person’s memory, ideas and ability to hold conversations. That number is expected to reach nearly 13 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The research team evaluated 54 cognitively healthy people, aged 40 to 60, with an average BMI of 32. The individuals’ brain volume was measured by MRI and the presence of amyloid and tau (proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease) was detected. was decided using local emission tomography (PET) scans.
To establish Alzheimer’s disease risk, researchers assessed associations with factors such as body mass index (BMI), obesity, insulin resistance and abdominal adipose (fat) tissue.
“Researchers found that a higher visceral-to-subcutaneous fat ratio was linked to greater uptake of the amyloid tracer PET in the precuneus cortex, the area known to be affected early by amyloid pathology in Alzheimer’s disease. . This relationship was worse in men than in women,” the statement read.
The study also found a link between larger abdominal fat and increased brain irritation, which is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Several sectors are proposed to play a role. The inflammatory secretions of visceral fats – as opposed to the potentially protective effects of subcutaneous fats – can cause irritation of the brain, one of the key mechanisms contributing to Alzheimer’s disease,” Dolatshahi said.
“This study highlights a key mechanism by which hidden fats may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This reveals that such mental changes occur on average as early as age 50, up to 15 years before the first signs of Alzheimer’s memory loss appear,” said lead creator Cyrus A.Raji.