This study aimed to investigate the relationship between obesity and oxidative stress in older adults at risk for dementia. It also aimed to explore the influence of physical activity on the relationship between obesity and oxidative stress in this at risk cohort.
Older adults at risk for dementia underwent comprehensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychiatric assessment. At risk was defined as participants with subjective or mild cognitive impairment. Glutathione was assessed by magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the left hippocampus and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated and classified as healthy (BMI <25 kg/m2) or overweight/obese (BMI ≥25 kg/m2).
Sixty-five older adults (mean age=66.2 y) were included for analysis. The overweight/obese group had significantly greater glutathione in the hippocampus compared with the healthy weight group (t=−2.76, P=0.008). No significant difference in glutathione was observed between groups in the anterior or posterior cingulate. In the overweight/obese group, a higher BMI was associated with a diabetes diagnosis and lower total time engaging in physical activity (r=−0.36, P=0.025), however, glutathione did not correlate with activity levels across groups.
This study demonstrates that changes in in vivo markers of oxidative stress are present in overweight/obese older adults at risk for dementia. Future research should explore the relationship with diabetes and the longitudinal relationship between BMI and oxidative stress, and response to therapeutic interventions.