Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Overeating and Cognitive Impairment

Here’s something to think about before you hit the all-you-can-eat buffet: Mayo Clinic researchers found that overeating doubles the risk of memory loss in those age 70 and over. The study looked at 1,200 adults, ages 70 to 89, none with dementia, but 163 with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers found that those who ate more than 2,142 calories a day had nearly twice the risk of mild cognitive impairment compared to those who ate fewer than 1,526 calories a day, according to study author. The researchers also observed that the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of mild cognitive impairment, noting that dietary intake has been associated previously with cognitive impairment, but the role of daily energy consumption has not been clear. The findings may have clinical implications, as doctors and patients discuss the links between common healthy living practices and overall cognitive function. People with mild cognitive impairment are not regarded as having dementia, but they have cognitive deficits that appear to precede the development of such diseases as Alzheimer's. To understand the links between caloric intake and cognitive impairment, the study asked a random sample of 1,233 non-demented study participants, ages 70 trough 89, to fill out a food frequency questionnaire for the year preceding an interview. The volunteers included 1,070 cognitively normal people and 163 with mild cognitive impairment, as determined by an expert panel. The volunteers were divided into three groups, based on the caloric intake derived from their questionnaire answers. The group with the highest daily calorie consumption was associated with a greater chance of having mild cognitive impairment. One implication of the study might be that "cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age, the study suggests.

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