Study finds a link between hidden belly fat in middle age and Alzheimer's disease.

A recent study presented at the RSNA conference suggests a link between the development of Alzheimer's disease and higher levels of visceral belly fat in midlife. 

The research indicates that visceral fat, located deep within the abdomen around internal organs, may be connected to brain alterations associated with Alzheimer's up to 15 years before symptoms appear. 

The cross-sectional study involved 54 cognitively healthy participants aged 40 to 60, with an average BMI of 32. Various measurements, including MRI and PET scans, were used to assess body fat, brain structure, and Alzheimer's-related protein buildup. 

With over 6 million Americans currently affected by Alzheimer's, the numbers are projected to rise to 13 million by 2050.  

The study explored the relationship between body mass index (BMI), obesity, insulin resistance, abdominal fat, and the presence of amyloid and tau proteins associated with Alzheimer's, using advanced imaging techniques. 

Unlike previous studies linking BMI to brain atrophy, this research specifically associates visceral fat with Alzheimer's protein in cognitively normal individuals, emphasizing the importance of studying different fat types. 

The study reveals that the relationship between visceral fat and amyloid uptake is more pronounced in men than in women. Additionally, higher visceral fat is linked to increased inflammation in the brain, a potential contributing factor to Alzheimer's. 

The senior author of the study suggests that understanding the role of visceral fat in Alzheimer's pathology could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention strategies, potentially providing new avenues for addressing this debilitating disease. 

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