More a Woman Weighs, the Worse Her Memory

CHICAGO, July 16 (UPI) — U.S. researchers have linked reduced memory in women with putting on extra pounds, and say lessened brain function and obesity are associated.

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago say the more an older woman weighs, the worse her memory.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, finds memory scores dropped one point for every one point increase in a woman’s Body Mass Index — a measure of obesity calculated using weight and height.

“While the women’s scores were still in the normal range, the added weight definitely had a detrimental effect,” Dr. Diana Kerwin, the lead author, said in a statement. “We need to find out if one kind of fat is more detrimental than the other, and how it affects brain function. The fat may contribute to the formation of plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease or a restricted blood flow to the brain.”

Kerwin and colleagues looked at 8,745 cognitively normal, post-menopausal women ages 65-79 participating in the Women’s Health Initiative hormone trials. The women were scored on a 100-point memory test, called the Modified Mini-Mental Status Examination. The study controlled for such variables as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

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