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 and 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.