13 February 2012

Calorie intake linked to cognitive impairment

by Will Parker

Consuming more than 2,100 calories per day appears to double the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly, according to a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in April.

"We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI [mild cognitive impairment]," said study author Yonas E. Geda, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The study involved 1,233 subjects aged between 70 and 89. Of those, 163 had mild cognitive impairment. The amount of calories they ate or drank was gleaned via questionnaire and the subjects were divided into three equal groups based on their daily caloric intake. One-third of the participants consumed between 600 and 1,526 calories/day, one-third between 1,526 and 2,143 and one-third consumed between 2,143 and 6,000 calories/day.

Geda said the odds of having mild cognitive impairment more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The findings, he added, held true after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss.

Cutting calories, Geda suggests, may be a simple and effective way to prevent memory loss as we age.

Discuss this article in our forum
Large number of common drugs linked to brain impairment
Nicotine patches reduce senior moments
Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's

Source: American Academy of Neurology