November 26, 2009
Waist Fat Doubles Dementia Risk In Women
That tire rots your brain.
Women who store fat on their waist in middle age are more than twice as likely to develop dementia when they get older, reveals a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy.
The study has just been published in the scientific journal Neurology.
"Anyone carrying a lot of fat around the middle is at greater risk of dying prematurely due to a heart attack or stroke," says Deborah Gustafson, senior lecturer at the Sahlgrenska Academy. "If they nevertheless manage to live beyond 70, they run a greater risk of dementia."
The research is based on the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, which was started at the end of the 1960s when almost 1,500 women between the ages of 38 and 60 underwent comprehensive examinations and answered questions about their health and lifestyle.
What I wonder: What's the long term effect of liposuction? Does it decrease any risks associated with abdominal fat? Or do risks perhaps even increase because then more excess calories turn into intra-abdominal fat around internal organs?
What I also wonder: Is the waist fat risk really due to the fat near the skin? Or is that fat just a proxy also indicating the presence of far more dangerous intra-abdominal fat around internal organs? Could be both.
I ask all these questions about intra-abdominal fat because fat deposited around your organs makes those organs perform poorly.
(Boston) - Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have shown that fat collection in different body locations, such as around the heart and the aorta and within the liver, are associated with certain decreased heart functions. The study, which appears on-line in Obesity, also found that measuring a personís body mass index (BMI) does not reliably predict the amount of undesired fat in and around these vital organs.
So how to keep the weight off inside your body where fat is most harmful? So far the only way I know to do it is exercise after a diet. If you go on a diet and lose weight then exercise will keep the weight off around internal organs.
In addition to fat around the organs, a history of waist fat in older women could also be a proxy for other causes of dementia. For example, high blood pressure may harm the brain over time. Or it could even be that the ability to survive obesity beyond your seventies is associated with factors that enhance the risk of dementia. Also, hopefully someone will establish soon whether this result also holds for men.
I was thinking something similar because a lot of dementia is related to diabetes, and adult onset diabetes is related to obesity.
Or perhaps a rotting brain leads to inactivity and thus a spare tire. Chicken or egg.
Correlation, perhaps. Causation is an entirely different matter.
Perhaps it would be useful to teach Venn diagrams again.
This is just a first generation study - I'm more interested in whether it's a genetic link or a condition link. All we have are associations, and so many conditions of aging are genetically linked, as one would expect. Sibling studies would provide much more guidance as to whether we should have better habits or better parents.
This study doesn't stand alone. There's a large body of research literature on the large number of hormones and other compounds excreted by fat cells.
This study is a warning to the obese and joins a large number of other studies that find harm from obesity. There are obvious mechanisms for the harm including damage to the cardiovascular system which reduces blood flow to the brain.
> There's a large body of research literature on the large number of hormones and other compounds excreted by fat cells.
Theres a large body of research about anything that is medical. If youve done time in biomed research, its not hard to come up with five or ten theories of the cause of any given medical condition, or as my mentor hyperbolized, "in an hour of pubmedding or google-scholaring, you can totally prove anything." Because there is so much funding, far more than in any other branch of science, you can find papers, probably false in many cases, that not only limn plausibility for your idea but actually make it seem rather likely.
I am really hoping it is causal, though, since I have the spare tire in the context of low adiposity elsewhere. Im certain I can lose it, hence my hope that it is causal. But if not enough information exists, I'll just have to assume that it is.
By the way, doesnt visceral fat affect these abdominal measurements directly, rather than just by being correlated with subcutaneous abdominal fat?
I just noticed a picture of a bunch of old, fat women analyzing climate data at the East Anglia University CRU project. Now it all makes sense.