New research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that the amount of fat present in a person’s muscle tissue could be a valuable predictor of cognitive decline in older adults. The study revealed a noteworthy connection between an accumulation of fat in the thigh muscle over a period of 5 years and an increased likelihood of cognitive decline. This association persisted even after considering important factors such as body weight, other fat deposits, muscle traits, and typical dementia risk factors.
In the study, muscle fat levels were examined in 1,634 individuals between the ages of 69 and 79. Muscle fat was measured at the start of the study, after one year, and again after six years. Additionally, cognitive function was evaluated at the beginning of the study, as well as at years 1, 3, 5, 8, and 10.
The findings indicate that individuals who experienced increases in muscle fat from year one to year six showed a faster decline in cognitive function over time.
The findings of the study indicate that muscle adiposity has a distinct and significant impact on cognitive decline, separate from the effects of other types of fat or muscle traits. This suggests that further investigation is needed to explore the communication between muscle fat and the brain, and whether decreasing muscle adiposity can potentially decrease the risk of dementia.
The search for a cure for dementia continues, but now the focus is on preventative lifestyle interventions. It is predicted that the number of people affected by dementia could triple by 2050, affecting over 150 million people worldwide.
The importance of body composition in preventative healthcare cannot be overstated, as individuals with the same BMI may have varying levels of health risks and associated conditions. It is evident that there is an increasing demand for regular assessments of muscle fatness in medical settings, as these assessments could potentially provide valuable insights into the risk of dementia and improve overall outcomes.
This suggests that monitoring muscle adipose levels could be a useful indicator of cognitive health in older adults.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Increase in skeletal muscular adiposity and cognitive decline in a biracial cohort of older men and women