How can people with obesity combat dementia? A lifespan approach
Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Being obese can dramatically increase dementia risk. The goal of this project is to evaluate the contribution of lifespan environmental factors to the development of cognitive dysfunction (dementia and cognitive impairment no dementia, CIND) in people with obesity, and further to quantify to what extent the deleterious effect of obesity on the brain can be prevented. We aim to: 1) estimate the contribution of familial background (genetic factors and early-life environments) and adulthood lifestyle to the development of cognitive dysfunction in obese people; 2) explore the role of education and occupation in the relation of obesity to cognitive dysfunction; 3) examine if physical activity may buffer the deleterious effect of obesity on cognition; 4) verify the impact of diet and nutritional status on dementia and CIND in obese people; 5) assess how much lifespan vascular disorders may account for the risk of cognitive dysfunction due to obesity; 6) verify whether body fat changes from mid- to late-life are related to cognitive dysfunction; and 7) detect the optimal body mass index (BMI) cutoffs related to preserved cognitive function in elderly people comparing to other body fat indices. This project will be carried out within two population-based studies; the HARMONY study, a nationwide Swedish twin study on dementia (N=13,693, aged =65) that will be utilized to address aim 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and the SNAC-K project, the Swedish national study of aging and care (N=3,363, aged =60) that will be employed to address aim 2, 3, 4 and 7. In both studies, detailed personal, clinical and laboratory data were gathered, and measures of body fat and information on education, occupation, physical activity, diet, nutrition and clinical diagnoses are available. CIND and dementias were diagnosed following criteria. This research may lead to the establishment of life-course strategies to prevent dementias in people with obesity, which represents the most common disorder worldwide.