TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In older adults with abdominal obesity, sustained levels of higher blood glucose are tied to a higher likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline, whereas in older adults without abdominal obesity, the hormone adiponectin appears to up the risk for cognitive decline, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mary Ganguli, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues assayed fasting blood for markers of glycemia (glucose and hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c]), insulin resistance, obesity (resistin, adiponectin, and glucagon-like peptide-1), and inflammation (C-reactive protein) for 478 community-dwelling individuals aged 65 years and older. These indices were assessed as predictors of decline in global cognition.

The researchers found that HbA1c was significantly associated with cognitive decline. Even when stratifying by median waist-hip ratio (WHR), HbA1c remained associated with cognitive decline in participants with higher WHR. In participants with lower WHR, no metabolic indices were associated with cognitive decline. No predictors were identified in participants older than 87 to 88 years. In lower WHR participants younger than 87 years, adiponectin ≥11 was associated with faster cognitive decline. In higher WHR participants younger than 88 years, faster decline was associated with an HbA1c of 6.2 percent or greater.

“This information may help target different strategies to different subgroups of older adults for the prevention of cognitive decline,” the authors write.

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