Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Leptin and Alzheimer's disease

Leptin is produced by fat cells and sends a signal to the brain telling us to stop eating when we have had enough food. As well as stopping us eating too much there is increasing evidence that leptin also helps with brain development and function and memory. Scientists from Boston University Medical Center studied 198 people looking into the links between leptin and Alzheimer's disease. They measured the participants' levels of leptin and also gave them regular brain scans to check for Alzheimer's. Over a 12-year follow-up period a quarter of the people with the lowest levels of leptin developed Alzheimer's compared to only 6% of those with the highest levels. Previous research has shown that leptin helps to reduce levels of beta-amyloid which forms the plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's.


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