Is dementia in older women tied to 20-year rate of weight loss?

December 27, 2016

(HealthDay)—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 online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Erin S. LeBlanc, M.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 1,289 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 percent increased odds of MCI/dementia in age/education/clinic-adjusted base models (odds ratio [OR], 1.30; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 1.49). After further adjustment for age, education, clinic, depression, and walking speed, each 0.5 kg/year decrease was associated with a 17 percent increased odds of MCI/dementia (OR, 1.17; 95 percent CI, 1.02 to 1.35). Variability in weight was significant in base models. The odds of MCI/dementia were increased 11 percent for each 1 percent average deviation from each woman's predicted weight curve (OR, 1.11; 95 percent CI, 1.04 to 1.18). After full adjustment the estimate was attenuated (OR, 1.06; 95 percent CI, 0.99 to 1.14).

"Rate of over 20 years was associated with development of MCI or in surviving past 80 years," the authors write.

One author's institution received funding from pharmaceutical companies for unrelated projects.

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