Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often thought of as conditions that affect the elderly but new research raises a new threat for youngsters that have developed obesity and insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance & Dementia

The study reviewed 440 children and adolescents. 40% were of normal weight, 31% overweight and 29% obese. Insulin resistance was measured along with levels of presenilin-1 (PSEN1) and amyloid β-protein 42 (Aβ42). PSEN1 and Aβ42 are markers that are closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The results showed that obese teenagers had the highest levels of PSEN1 and Aβ42, suggesting an increased risk of dementia. The results showed that the markers of dementia were significantly correlated with BMI and extent of insulin resistance.

While the study was not set up to quantify the risk of development of Alzheimer’s disease, it is not a great stretch to suppose that the obese and insulin resistant youngsters could also face a risk of developing dementia earlier in life than usual.

More research will be needed to review the risk of Alzheimer’s disease within people that had developed obesity early into their lives but the study could serve as an early warning to teenagers and their parents of what risks may lie ahead.

Tackling obesity early

If you or are your children are obese, important ways to start addressing this is to ensure your diet includes home cooked and prepared meals, has a strong intake of vegetables and does not regularly rely on processed foods or drinks.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, Italy and is published by the American Academy of Pediatrics journal.