Researchers from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medication recently published this interesting study in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. It has turned many heads so far considering it goes totally against existing medical knowledge and previous studies on the same topic. The fact that having a Body mass Index (BMI) above the normal limit could reduce* one’s risk of dementia also goes against previous researches, which unanimously relate obesity with an increased risk of dementia later in life.
Prof Stuart Pocock, one of the authors behind this research, emphasized the importance of paying attention to the correlation the study has established regarding public health. He also urged healthcare workers to reassess their methods when identifying patients at a risk of dementia.
The study correlated the BMI of nearly 2 million UK citizens. Middle aged people with a BMI of less than 20, falling under both the underweight and normal weight categories, appear to be at the highest risk of dementia at 34% to 39%. The comparison is made with the normal weight category, which the study sets as a BMI of 20 to 25. On the heavier side, overweight people showed a reduction* in the risk of dementia by 18%. This decrease* in the apparent risk is surpassed only by heavier people, with obese people at a BMI of over 40 being approximately 24% to 29% less likely to get dementia.
When asked to comment on his study’s results, the lead author, Dr Nawab Qizilbash from Oxon Epidemiology, himself admitted that “Yes, it is a surprise,”.
Dr. Qizilbash also acknowledged the controversial nature of the study’s results and the fact that this study goes completely against what previous studies have proven while boasting a sample size and accuracy which easily overwhelms them.
However, he did bring attention to a very important consequence regarding the new findings. He warned that people who are overweight may not live long enough to enjoy a dementia free geriatric life, considering how other issues like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and organ failure are seen to occur mainly in those who carry more weight than normal. Many other diseases, too, carry obesity as a risk factor. This means that binge eating or eating unhealthy is not in any way a safe or wise route to take.
Many experts agree that the study, although large, does not in any way conclude anything, but opens up an avenue for new research. The protective effects of body weight on dementia risk and other factors that may influence it are not currently understood. It is also worth noting that the study only compares the BMI with the risk of dementia. BMI itself is regarded an obsolete method for assessing body fat.
Must Watch – Diabetes Increases* the Risk of Dementia
Eating healthy, exercising, not smoking and maintaining a healthy blood pressure still remain the best ways to combat dementia along with other life reducing* diseases, according to the researchers other medical experts.