Rate of Weight Loss May Be Linked to Dementia in Older Women

HealthDay News — For women surviving into late life, the rate of weight loss over 20 years is associated with development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Erin S. LeBlanc, MD, MPH, from Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 1289 older community-dwelling women (mean baseline age: 68 and 88 at cognitive testing). Participants underwent body weight measures repeatedly over 20 years.

The researchers found that the chance of developing MCI or dementia was increased for women with greater rate of weight loss over 20 years. Each 0.5 kg/year decrease resulted in 30% increased odds of MCI/dementia in age/education/clinic-adjusted base models (odds ratio [OR]: 1.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-1.49). 

After further adjustment for age, education, clinic, depression, and walking speed, each 0.5 kg/year decrease was associated with a 17% increased odds of MCI/dementia (OR: 1.17; 95% CI, 1.02-1.35). Variability in weight was significant in base models. The odds of MCI/dementia were increased 11% for each 1% average deviation from each woman’s predicted weight curve (OR: 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04-1.18). 

After full adjustment the estimate was attenuated (OR: 1.06; 95% CI, 0.99-1.14).

“Rate of weight loss over 20 years was associated with development of MCI or dementia in women surviving past 80 years,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosures: One author’s institution received funding from pharmaceutical companies for unrelated projects.

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  1. LeBlanc ES, Rizzo JH, Pedula KL, et al; for the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) Research Group. Weight Trajectory over 20 Years and Likelihood of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia Among Older Women [published online December 19, 2016]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi:10.1111/jgs.14552.