Adiponectin is a protein hormone that modulates a number of metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism -- a metabolic process in which molecules are broken down into smaller units and release energy. Adiponectin is exclusively secreted from fat tissue into the bloodstream and the levels of the hormone are inversely correlated with body fat percentage in adults.
Thomas M. van Himbergen of the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston and colleagues measured levels of glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein and other substances.
The 840 patients in the study -- 541 women, median age 76 -- were tracked for an average of 13 years and evaluated for signs of the development of AD and all-cause dementia.
During the study period, 159 patients developed dementia, including 125 cases of Alzheimer's disease. After adjustment for other dementia risk factors only adiponectin in women was associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
The findings were published online in the Archives of Neurology.