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Weight issues 'can affect Alzheimer's risk'

Weight issues 'can affect Alzheimer's risk'
8th May 2008

Being obese or underweight could affect an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's, it has emerged.

Recent research detailed in Obesity Reviews suggests that being dramatically overweight can increases a person's chance of developing the condition by up to 80 per cent, while being underweight increased the risk by 36 per cent.

These conclusions were based on a detailed review of ten studies, covering some 37,000 individuals, 2,534 of who had some form of dementia.

Some 12 per cent of the dementia risk in the study population could be attributed to obesity, with this rising to just over 21 per cent in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to the study authors.

It was also noted that obesity is more of a risk factor for women than men when it comes to developing dementia.

"We believe that our results show that reducing the prevalence of obesity is a promising strategy for preventing the progression of normal ageing into Alzheimer's disease," stated lead researcher Dr Youfa Wang, associate professor of International Health and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This follows news that that gender can play a role in determining the risk of developing Alzheimer's, with women being more likely to develop the condition if they are depressed and men if they have suffered a stroke.