Overeating may double risk of memory loss

Higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI among people aged 70 years and older.

Ians February 13, 2012

WASHINGTON: Overeating is likely to double the risk of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people aged 70 years and older, a study reveals.

"We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI," said study author Yonas E. Geda, from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. MCI is the stage between normal memory loss and early Alzheimer's disease.

The study involved 1,233 people between the ages of 70 and 89 years and free of dementia. Of those, 163 had MCI. Participants reported the amount of calories they ate or drank in a food questionnaire, and were divided into three equal groups based on their daily calorie consumption.

One-third of the participants consumed between 600 and 1,526 calories per day, one-third between 1,526 and 2,143 and one-third consumed between 2,143 and 6,000 calories per day, said a university statement.

The odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group, compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group.

The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss. There was no significant difference in risk for the middle group.

"Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet, may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age," said Geda.

The study co-authors include Ronald C. Petersen, Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and other investigators of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging in Rochester, Minnesota, US.

These findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 21 to April 28.


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