The Role of Visceral Fat in Alzheimer’s Disease – Study Reveals

Role of visceral fat in Alzheimer’s disease revealed – Amid growing global concern about Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has surfaced, shining a spotlight on a previously underestimated risk factor – visceral fat, the deep abdominal fat that surrounds internal organs. This research, presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), uncovers a crucial link between excessive visceral fat and the development of Alzheimer’s disease and suggests that this hidden abdominal fat may play a critical role in triggering Alzheimer’s disease Brain changes in midlife.

Under the direction of Dr. Mahsa Dolatshahi of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the study carefully examined a group of 54 cognitively healthy people between the ages of 40 and 60 with an average body mass index (BMI) of 32. The researchers followed the matter into a comprehensive data set derived from various examinations, including glucose and insulin measurements, glucose tolerance tests, MRI scans of the abdomen, and MRI and PET scans of the brain.

Their careful analysis produced several groundbreaking findings:

  1. The influence of visceral fat on Alzheimer’s pathology: A higher ratio of visceral to subcutaneous fat, indicating a greater proportion of deep abdominal fat compared to fat under the skin, was associated with increased uptake of an amyloid PET tracer in the precuneus cortex, a brain region known to be affected early on affected by Alzheimer’s pathology. This association was stronger in men than in women.

  2. Visceral fat and encephalitis: Higher levels of visceral fat have been linked to increased levels of inflammation in the brain, a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This suggests that inflammatory secretions from visceral fat, rather than the potentially protective effects of subcutaneous fat, may contribute to brain inflammation, a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

  3. Early signs of Alzheimer’s: These results suggest that the negative effects of visceral fat on the brain may begin as early as midlife, perhaps up to 15 years before the onset of memory loss symptoms. This highlights the importance of early detection and intervention strategies.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Cyrus A. Raji, highlights the broad implications of these findings for earlier diagnostic and intervention strategies in Alzheimer’s disease.

“This study sheds light on a key mechanism by which hidden fat may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Dr. Raji. “It turns out that such brain changes can occur as early as age 50, on average up to 15 years before the first memory loss symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear.”

Dr. Raji also suggests that targeted reduction of visceral fat could potentially reduce the risk of future brain inflammation and dementia.

“By going beyond body mass index and using MRI to better characterize the anatomical distribution of body fat, we now have a deeper understanding of why this factor may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” he explained.

This groundbreaking study, with its careful analysis and far-reaching implications, is promising in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. By unraveling the hidden culprit – visceral fat – researchers have opened up new avenues for early detection. Intervention, and potential prevention of this debilitating neurodegenerative disease.

About visceral fat

Visceral fat, the deep abdominal fat that surrounds internal organs, has long been linked to a variety of health risks, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Now, a growing body of research suggests that visceral fat may also play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammatory pathways implied

Researchers believe the link between visceral fat and Alzheimer’s disease may be mediated by inflammation. Visceral fat is known to secrete inflammatory molecules that enter the bloodstream and can reach the brain. These inflammatory molecules can trigger a cascade of events that damage brain cells and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Implications for diagnosis and intervention

The results of this study have important implications for the diagnosis and intervention of Alzheimer’s disease. By measuring visceral fat levels, doctors may be able to identify people who are at increased risk of developing the disease earlier and take preventive measures. Additionally, targeted reduction of visceral fat through lifestyle changes or medications could represent a new approach to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Going beyond BMI

This study highlights the importance of going beyond body mass index (BMI) as a measure of overall health and disease risk. BMI is a rough measure of body fat that does not differentiate between visceral and subcutaneous fat. By measuring visceral fat levels using MRI or other imaging techniques, doctors can more accurately assess a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other health conditions.

A promising target for Alzheimer’s prevention

The results of this study suggest that visceral fat may be a promising target for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. By reducing visceral fat, individuals may be able to reduce their risk of disease and improve their overall health. Further research is needed to confirm these results and develop effective interventions to specifically reduce visceral fat.

The central theses

  • Visceral fat, the deep abdominal fat that surrounds internal organs, has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • This connection may be mediated by inflammation, which can damage brain cells and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Measuring visceral fat content may help identify individuals at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease earlier and facilitate preventive interventions.
  • Reducing visceral fat levels through lifestyle changes or medication could represent a promising approach to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.


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Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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