According to data from the Framingham Heart Study (Massachusetts, United States), people who have high levels of leptin - protein produced by adipocytes (fat cells) - are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.
For the trial, the scientists measured the leptin concentration of 785 volunteers who did not suffer from dementia during the years 1990 and 1994. Subsequently, between 1999 and 2005, they performed a volumetric magnetic resonance of the brain of 198 individuals with the same conditions. In addition, they measured the overall brain volume and an area called the temporal horn, which indicate the beginning of Alzheimer's and the subsequent risk of dementia. In approximately nine years, 111 participants developed dementia and 89 were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
The scientists observed that the high levels of this protein were related to a smaller number of causes that can produce dementia and Alzheimer's.
If these results are confirmed in additional studies, leptin levels could be considered an indicator of the healthy aging of the brain, and there are also openings to possible treatments and preventive therapies.
What is leptin?
- It is a protein produced by adipocytes (fat cells) that inhibits the appetite at the level of the hypothalamus. Its deficit causes obesity.
- High levels of insulin in blood, as well as glucocorticoids, have a stimulating effect on leptin secretion.