Sarcopenic obesity is independently associated with MCI and dementia in Japanese the elderly. Credit: Hunthenda University

Obesity, an increasingly common lifestyle disease, often occurs along with lean muscle mass. This condition, called sarcopenic obesity, is assessed based on body mass index (BMI) and grip strength. Interestingly, sarcopenic obesity is known to increase the risk of cognitive impairment. It is known that dementia, a cognitive condition in which memory, thinking and social abilities are gradually reduced, significantly affects the quality of life of older people. Is this condition related to sarcopenic obesity?

In a new study published in Clinical nutrition, a team of researchers led by Dr. Yosifumi Tamura of Hunthenda University, Japan, investigated this issue. “Once a link is established between sarcopenic obesity and dementia, appropriate preventive measures can be taken to reduce the occurrence of this condition and risk of dementia y elderly patients“- says Dr. Tamura, emphasizing the importance of their study.

In the study, researchers recruited 1,615 elderly Japanese aged 65 to 84 who participated in the Bunkyo health study. The researchers divided the subjects into four groups according to their sarcopenia and obesity status: obese, sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity, and no obesity or sarcopenia (control). They studied the relationship between various mental processes, sarcopenia and obesity status. Sarcopenia or weak muscle strength was determined based on grip strength of less than 28 kg in men and 18 kg in women, while obesity status prescribed to patients with BMI greater than 25 kg / m22. Two assessment methods were performed to determine the presence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. To confirm MCI and dementia, scores of less than 22 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and less than 23 on the Mine Psychological Exam were used.

Scientists claim that sarcopenic obesity is associated with dementia in elderly patients

In a brand new study, researchers from Japan showed how comorbidities with sarcopenia and obesity are associated with cognitive impairment in older Japanese. Credit: Hunthenda University

They found that 59.4% of the population had neither obesity nor sarcopenia, 21.2% – obesity, 14.6% – sarcopenia and 4.7% of the population – sarcopenic obesity. Participants with sarcopenic obesity had the highest incidence of MCI and dementia, followed by participants with sarcopenia, obesity, and finally control group. When the team conducted a multidimensional analysis to examine statistically important associations, they found that sarcopenic obesity was independently associated with an increased prevalence of MCI and dementia compared with the absence of sarcopenia and obesity. The study also found that sarcopenia is significantly associated with dementia in women but not in men.

“This study clearly demonstrates that sarcopenic obesity, defined by a combination of BMI and hand grip strength, is associated with MCI and dementia in Japanese older people“Says Dr. Tamura.

But what are the long-term implications of this study? Dr Tamura says that “since we now know that there is a strong correlation between sarcopenia obesity and dementia, we can develop new treatments to manage the condition, thereby even reducing the prevalence dementia».

Low protein intake is associated with decreased muscle mass and strength in women over 65

Additional information:
Yuki Someya et al., Sarcopenic Obesity is associated with cognitive impairment in older people living in the community: The Bunkyo Health Study, Clinical nutrition (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.clnu.2022.03.017

Provided by the Hunthend University Research Promotion Center

Citation: Sarcopenic obesity associated with dementia in elderly patients (2022, May 26) obtained May 26, 2022 from

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