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Dementia linked to excessive fat

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The onset of dementia may be more likely in people who have a lot of abdominal fat, scientists have claimed.

The US-based study of around 700 middle-aged people, however, shows that further research is needed in order to comprehensively link obesity with the syndrome, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

The larger the amount of fatty tissue around organs, known as visceral fat, the smaller the total volume of the brain, scientists at the University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, said.

Low brain volume has been strongly associated with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dr Susanne Sorensen said: “We have all heard how a beer belly can be bad for our heart but this study suggests carrying excess abdominal weight could also increase your risk of getting dementia.

“This is not really surprising as a large stomach is associated with high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes: all major risk factors for dementia.

“While this large and robust study builds on the growing literature looking at links between obesity and dementia, more work is needed.”

The initial study findings have been published in the Annals of Neurology.

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