You may recall a study I posted late last year that found women who have been obese their entire lives were more prone to losing brain tissue in the temporal lobe — the area responsible for speech, comprehension and memory — than those of a normal weight. If that doesn’t get your attention, the results of a new study certainly should, particularly if you’re part of the baby boomer generation: Those extra pounds you hold onto at midlife could increase your risk of dementia.

In this newest offshoot of the Kaiser Permanente study (conducted from 1964-73), researchers reviewed the medical records of patients between ages 40-45, then did a follow up on the health some 20 years later. By 1994, physicians found 7 percent of the patients surveyed had been diagnosed with dementia.

When evaluated based on a measurement of body fat, both men and women who were the fattest had a 70 percent greater risk of dementia than patients with the lowest levels of fat. Look at how the risk seems to be tied to body mass index (BMI).

  • Those with a BMI above 29 were 74 percent more likely to succumb to dementia.
  • Patients in the 25-29.9 BMI range had a 35 percent greater chance of dementia.

And like that recent study on losing brain tissue, obese middle-aged women were more prone to dementia too.

Since losing weight and keeping it off will be vitally important to most of you as you reach midlife and beyond — if you want protect your mental faculties — I urge to you to review my recent protocol for blowing away Alzheimer’s disease safely, inexpensively and without the need for toxic drugs. A quick list of recommendations:

British Medical Journal April 29, 2005Full Free Text Article April 29, 2005