Friday, March 28, 2008

A Fat Gut and Dementia?

A new study published in the journal Neurology reveals the following:

The study involved 6,583 men and women who were ages 40 to 45 when they had checkups between 1964 and 1973. As part of the exam, their belly size was measured by using a caliper to find the distance between their backs and the surface of their upper abdomens. For the study, a distance of about 10 inches or more was considered high.
The researchers checked medical records to see who had developed Alzheimer's or another form of dementia by an average of 36 years later. At that point the participants were ages 73 to 87. There were 1,049 cases.
Analysis found that compared to people in the study with normal body weight and a low belly measurement:
_ Participants with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia.
_ Overweight people were 82 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than twice as likely if they had a high belly measurement.
_ Obese people were 81 percent more likely if they had a low belly measurement, but more than three times as likely if they had a high measurement.

It's not conclusive but why look silly and take the risk of being demented as well?

Just for the record, I am 48 with a measurement of seven inches. At my largest I would guess I was around 11 inches. A fat belly can be reduced. One thing to remember about a fat belly is that a lot of fat can build up under the abdominal muscle layer. This is the strangling fat I have mentioned before that pushes the abdomen out and envelops the vital organs.

What shocked me the most about this study was the high number of people as a percentage of the group that suffered from dementia. It's made me think that I will have to concentrate more on mental exercises and other things to keep myself functional. It seems that staving off dementia may be more challenging than just keeping physically fit and will require a multi-disciplined approach.

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