Being too slim at midlife may boost dementia risk

LiveScience | .

Being too thin in middle age might be bad for brain health later in life, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people who were underweight in their 40s, 50s and 60s were 34 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia up to 15 years later, compared with similarly aged men and women who were a healthy weight.

Exactly why being underweight —defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 20 —in middle age is linked with dementia is unclear and requires further investigation, said study co-author Dr. Nawab Qizilbash, a clinical epidemiologist and the head of OXON Epidemiology, a research organization in London. But he speculates that factors such asdiet, exercise, frailty, weight changes and deficiencies in vitamins D and E might play a role.

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