"A healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) at midlife may delay the onset of Alzheimer's,” concludes a recent study linking the two. As Alzheimer’s rates continue to rise in our country, research most often focuses on finding a cure to this degenerative brain disease, but figuring out how to delay its onset is equally important.
The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, followed a group of roughly 1,400 people for 14 years. The findings: a one unit increase in BMI correlated with a 6.7 month earlier onset of Alzheimer's! While other studies have shown relationships between BMI and Alzheimer’s, this is one of the first to show that weight is a contributing factor to the disease’s onset.
Nicholas Bakalar of the New York Times gives a synopsis of the report and quotes Dr. Madhav Thambisetty, senior author of the study:
Age of onset is not as well studied as risk...As we try to cure Alzheimer’s disease, we also want to delay the onset of symptoms. Until we know what factors accelerate onset, we won’t be able to test any potential interventions. And that is perhaps as important as the search for treatment.”
While a cure for Alzheimer’s remains elusive, it's heartening to know that exercise and a healthy diet—along with a full spectrum of health and wellness practices—can help an individual delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
- Excess Weight at Age 50 Tied to Earlier Alzheimer’s Onset via the New York Times