Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia

Date:
December 16, 2009
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have found that higher leptin (a protein that controls weight and appetite) levels were associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The study may open pathways for possible preventive and therapeutic interventions.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher leptin (a protein that controls weight and appetite) levels were associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and dementia. The study, which appears in the December 16th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, may open pathways for possible preventive and therapeutic interventions.

Dementia is increasingly recognized as a life-course illness where a variety of lifestyle choices interact with genetic, vascular and other risk factors to affect risk of disease. Given the rapid aging of developed and developing societies, it is projected that the prevalence of dementia will dramatically increase during the next five decades. Therefore, it is a public health priority to explore pathophysiological pathways underlying the development of dementia and its most common cause, AD.

According to the BUSM researchers, a growing body of evidence suggests that leptin has beneficial effects on brain development and function. It appears to mediate structure and functional changes in the hippocampus and to improve memory function. Leptin also has been shown to increase apolipoprotein E-dependent B amyloid uptake into the cell and reduce brain extracellular concentrations of B-amyloid, the major component of the neuritic plaques that are a histopathological hallmark of AD.

Using participants from the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study, the researchers measured leptin concentrations in 785 persons without dementia. A subsample of 198 dementia-free survivors underwent volumetric brain MRI between 1999 and 2005, approximately 7.7 years after leptin levels were measured. Two measures of brain aging, total cerebral brain volume and temporal horn volume (which is inversely related to hippocampal volume) were assessed. The researchers found that elevated leptin levels was associated with higher total cerebral brain volume and lower temporal horn volume and higher leptin levels were prospectively associated with a lower incidence of AD and dementia.

"Over a 12-year follow-up, this corresponds to an absolute AD risk of 25 percent for persons with the lowest levels of leptin compared to a six percent risk for persons with the highest levels," said senior author Sudha Seshadri, MD, an associate professor of neurology at BUSM and an investigator at The Framingham Heart Study.

"If our findings are confirmed by others, leptin levels in older adults may serve as one of several possible biomarkers for healthy brain aging and, more importantly, may open new pathways for possible preventive and therapeutic intervention," she added.

The BUSM researchers believe further exploration of the molecular and cellular basis for the observed association may expand their understanding of the pathophysiology underlying brain aging and the development of AD.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Dr. Seshadri and the Neurology study group would like to thank the Framingham Heart Study participants and staff whose extraordinary commitment and dedication makes such scientific insights possible.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wolfgang Lieb; Alexa S. Beiser; Ramachandran S. Vasan; Zaldy S. Tan; Rhoda Au; Tamara B. Harris; Ronenn Roubenoff; Sanford Auerbach; Charles DeCarli; Philip A. Wolf; Sudha Seshadri. Association of Plasma Leptin Levels With Incident Alzheimer Disease and MRI Measures of Brain Aging. JAMA, 2009; 302 (23): 2565-2572

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173006.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2009, December 16). Researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173006.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215173006.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins