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Weight loss in old age linked to dementia

19th May 2009

New research has claimed older people who are thinner or losing weight quickly are at a higher risk of developing dementia.

The report published in the journal Neurology claims the risk is also higher for those who were overweight or obese earlier in life.

For their study, researchers followed 1,836 Japanese Americans in Washington with an average age of 72 for eight years.

They found those with lower body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the study were 79 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those with higher scores.

In addition, those who lost weight over the study period at a faster rate were nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than those who lost weight more slowly over time.

Commenting on the study, Tiffany Hughes, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said: “Our finding suggests that losing weight quickly in older age may be an early sign of dementia.

“This doesn’t mean that being obese or overweight is healthy for the mind or body, but losing weight may be a sign of emerging brain disease.”

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