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article imageOvereating may double risk of memory loss in older people

By JohnThomas Didymus     Feb 14, 2012 in Health
Scottsdale - A study published by the American Academy of Neurology says compared to those who eat fewer than 1,500 calories a day, older people who consume more than 2,143 calories a day more than double their risk of a condition called mild cognitive impairment.
CBS News reports Yonas Geda, neuropsychiatrist at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, and lead author of the study, said, "We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)."
USA Today reports studies in Australia have also shown that excessive calorie intake increases the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Mild cognitive impairment, also known as "incipient dementia," or "isolated memory impairment," is a condition involving cognitive impairment beyond that expected based on the age and level of education of the individual, but which is not significant enough to interfere with normal daily activities. It has often been found to be a transitional stage between normal impairment in the process of aging and dementia. It is known as "amnestic MCI" where memory loss is the dominant or predominant feature. Amnestic MCI often manifests as prodromal stage of Alzheimer's, with studies showing the rate of progression to Alzheimer's at about 10 to 15 percent per year. Not everyone diagnosed with MCI progresses to Alzheimer's.
People with MCI show a deficit in memory, language and thinking significant enough to be noticeable to other people.
Geda and his co-workers used 1,233 people aged between 70 and 89 and free of dementia, in Olmsted County, Minn. Out of the 1,233, 163 had mild cognitive impairment. The researchers calculated the daily calorie intake of the participants based on information gathered from questionnaires, and divided them into three equal groups based on calorie intake: the first group consumed 600 to 1526 calories daily, the second between 1,526 and 2,142 calories and the third more than 2,143.
The study, according to Geda, found that the odds of having MCI more than doubled in the highest calories group compared to the lowest calories group. The study found that the results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, level of education and other factors known to affect the risk of memory loss. The study also found no significant increase in risk for the middle group. Geda said: "Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age."
USA Today reports Geda said there was need to be careful about generalizing from their study. He says: "The first step is that we have to confirm this finding in a bigger study. Certainly, we are not recommending starvation or malnutrition."
CBS News reports Dr. Marie Janson, of Alzheimer's Research UK, said the findings fit with the "the bigger picture of a healthy lifestyle preventing Alzheimer's in later life."
According to Neurologist Neelum Aggarwal, member of the American Academy of Neurology, the findings should encourage physicians and health care providers to consider more seriously the connection between common living habits and practices, and health.
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 21 to April 28.
More about Memory loss, Calories, MCI, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease
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