Obesity and diabetes could lead to Alzheimer’s by slowly wearing down the liver, researchers have suggested.
Previous trials have suggested obesity and diabetes are harmful to vessels that carry blood to and from the brain, harming mental function.
But a new study has blamed reduced levels of lipids created in the liver, which are considered integral to cell membranes in the brain.
Plasmalogens, created in the liver and dispersed through the blood in the form of cholesterol-transporting lipoproteins, gradually reduce with age.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center warned obesity and diabetes can lower the numbers of plasmalogens.
Dr Mitchel Kling, study author, warned the liver has to work harder in overweight people and diabetics to break down fatty acids over time.
“This could lead to the eventual destruction of the peroxisomes that create plasmalogens which thus, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s,” he explained.
The findings, unveiled at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago and reported by MailOnline, were based on the measurement of several plasmalogens in around 1,650 participants, of which the majority had Alzheimer’s.
The team found lower levels of plasmalogens were linked to higher odds of the volunteers having Alzheimer’s disease.
A similar pattern was seen among participants with mild cognitive impairment, the stage between normal cognitive decline and dementia.