Fat In Abdominal Organs Connected With Cognitive Decline in Men at High Risk of Alzheimer’s


In middle-aged men with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, higher amounts of fat in the pancreas and liver may be associated with lower cognitive function and smaller brain volume, according to new research published in the journal Obesity.

The findings align with previous studies indicating that obesity in midlife

 and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes

 may be connected to an increased likelihood of dementia and brain aging.

“We think of dementia and cognitive decline with old age, but we’re showing that already in midlife there is a relationship between such a risk factor as abdominal organ fat and cognitive function and brain volumes,” says study author Michal Schnaider Beeri, PhD, director of the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s Research Center at Rutgers Brain Health Institute in New Jersey.

Men in the Study Had More Pancreatic Fat Than Women

For the analysis, Dr. Beeri and her collaborators selected 204 adults who are the offspring of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Participants ranged in age from 40 to 65, and 60 percent were women.

Subjects underwent abdominal magnetic resonance imaging to measure fat in the pancreas, liver, and abdomen and to assess brain volumes. To evaluate cognitive function, participants completed a battery of tests, including ones related to memory, language, and visual attention.

Specifically, the results highlighted that greater pancreatic fat was associated with lower cognition and brain volume in middle-aged males at high Alzheimer’s risk — but not females. This suggests a potential sex-specific link between distinct abdominal fat and brain health, according to Beeri.


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