A small study published in a recentissue of the Journal of Alzheimer'sDisease suggests that body fat mayincrease levels of the protein that causesAlzheimer's disease (AD). Researchersfrom Edith Cowan University inJoondalup, western Australia, used datafrom 18 healthy adults to find a linkbetween the peptide, known as plasmaamyloid-beta 42, and body mass index(BMI). They found that an increased BMIcorrelated with increased amyloid-beta42 blood levels. That same correlationexists for fat mass as well. There was nolink, however, between BMI/fat mass andamyloid-beta 40, a protein not associatedwith AD. Whereas obesity-related conditions,such as diabetes and heart disease,also may be associated withincreased AD risk, researchers madeadjustments for these diseases. Theyconcluded that it was the fat itself thatincreased the AD-causing protein. Theresearchers noted that amyloid-beta 42"is very attracted to fat." The next stepfor investigators would be to follow theparticipants to see whether they developAD and to further study the link betweenfat and this protein.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.