Obesity and the hormone adiponectin might be risk factors for cognitive decline among older adults

Among older adults, fluctuations in blood sugar levels were correlated with an increased risk of developing cognitive decline, a new study suggests.

For older adults with no prior history of obesity, a protein hormone known as adiponectin, involved in regulating glucose levels, may also be a risk factor for cognitive decline, the findings also suggest.

In the study, appearing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers annually examined 478 participants aged 65 and over for a span of 10 years establishing any potential association between obesity and cognitive decline.

From the findings: “We assayed fasting blood for markers of glycemia (glucose and hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]), insulin resistance (IR) (insulin and homeostatic model assessment of IR), obesity (resistin, adiponectin, and glucagon‐like peptide‐1), and inflammation (C‐reactive protein).”

“We modeled these indices as predictors of the slope of decline in global cognition, adjusting for age, sex, education, APOE*4 genotype, depressive symptoms, waist‐hip ratio (WHR), and systolic blood pressure, in multivariable regression analyses of the entire sample and stratified by sex‐specific median WHR,” the study reads.

“We then conducted WHR‐stratified machine‐learning analyses of the same variables.”

Based on results from the population-based cohort study, older adults, less than 88 years of age, with obesity may be at an increased risk of developing cognitive decline.

“Our population‐based data suggest that, in individuals younger than 88 years with central obesity, even modest degrees of hyperglycemia might independently predispose to faster cognitive decline,” researchers concluded.

“In contrast, among those younger than 87 years without central obesity, adiponectin may be a novel independent risk factor for cognitive decline.”

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