News Monday February 13, 2012

Over-eating could lead to memory loss in the elderly, research claims

Scientists in the United States have suggested that eating too much could lead to double the number of cases of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the elderly.

The study, the findings of which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual conference in April, has found that those elderly people consuming a high-calorie diet were more than twice as likely to show signs of MCI, which could be a precursor to mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

The three groups of patients involved in the study, aged 70 to 89, were divided up by their daily calorie intake to determine the effect of diet on memory. Results showed that those who consumed a lower amount of calories were less at risk of MCI, whereas those who had a daily intake of over 2,100 calories were more likely to suffer a cognitive impairment in their later years.

Though mental impairments are typically associated with older people, scientists believe there is a need for further research considering the fact that the ageing population is increasingly affected by dementia, and that diet and lifestyle could have a considerable effect. As Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK observed, "It would be interesting to see how many of these people go on to develop dementia in the future, to see if there is link to Alzheimer's disease."

Though the findings have yet to be officially published, the early release of these results will be of much interest in the fight for good mental health, as well as a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

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