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What your weight can indicate about Alzheimer's

Jan 9, 2012, 8:30 a.m.

One of the wonderful things about growing older that nobody ever talks about is being around long enough to read about the discoveries that doctors and scientists are making in various fields. One of the areas that medical professionals have been discovering more and more about lately is in the area of detecting Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly enough, there's recent information that's leading doctors to the conclusion that a person's body weight can be one of the major warning signs of Alzheimer's.

Even more strange, it's low and normal body weight that's being looked at as one of the potential signs of Alzheimer's, and not obesity as some might prematurely conclude. But before you go ordering another slice of pie for dessert as a way of heading off the advancement of Alzheimer's, consider the following research data that doctors are still going over, and that may still yield some interesting discoveries.

Studies showed that people who experienced bone density and muscle mass decline were also at greater risk for developing signs of Alzheimer's.

There was no evidence found indicating that memory loss, and the natural byproduct of forgetting to eat, had anything to do with instances of lower weight among sufferers of Alzheimer's.

Doctors are starting to reexamine previously held notions that midlife obesity has a lot to do with the eventual development of Alzheimer's disease, and as a result have come to the conclusion that low or normal body weight could be an even greater contributor.

As a result of the study, doctors are looking at the distinct possibility that changes in the body and weight loss later in life could be one of the previously undetected signs of Alzheimer's disease, pointing to yet another possibility -- that it's not necessarily being skinny that can cause a person to develop Alzheimer's, but that the disease itself may cause changes in the body, such as unintentional weight loss.

So what of all the sage advice that doctors have been giving patients throughout the years about the importance of staying slim into their senior years? Well, that hasn't necessarily gone away just because of a single study. The possible discovery that being underweight or having normal body weight could influence the development of Alzheimer's disease aside, there are still plenty of negative health effects of obesity that could ultimately be worse than the development of Alzheimer's, including early death due to heart disease. Doctors still recommend maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your weight in check as the best possible approach to longevity and health.

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