'Skinny fat' linked to cognitive decline, study warns

Sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, tends to happen naturally with age. So, in older people with sarcopenia, excess body fat may not be readily visible. But hidden fat, paired with muscle mass loss later in life, could predict Alzheimer's risk, researchers warn.

Sarcopenic obesity may exacerbate the risk of cognitive decline later in life, warn researchers.

A recent study — the results of which have been published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging — has found that sarcopenia and obesity (independently, but especially when occurring together) can heighten the risk of cognitive function impairments later in life.

The research was conducted by scientists at the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

"Sarcopenia," explains senior study author Dr. James Galvin, "has been linked to global cognitive impairment and dysfunction in specific cognitive skills including memory, speed, and executive functions."

"They may benefit from programs addressing loss of cognitive function by maintaining and improving strength and preventing obesity," he adds.

Beware sarcopenic obesity
The scientists analyzed health-related data collected from 353 participants — aged 69, on average — all of whom registered to take part in community-based studies on aging and memory.

To establish whether or not there was a link between sarcopenic obesity — that is, the presence of excess body fat in conjunction with muscle mass loss — and cognitive decline, the team assessed participants' performance on tests evaluating cognitive function, including the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and animal-naming exercises.

Estrogen could play role in men's migraines

Many women with migraines have headaches triggered by hormonal fluctuations. Now a small study hints that estrogen could play a role in men's migraines, too. The study of 39 men found that those with migraines had higher estrogen levels, on average, than men who were migraine-free.

On the other hand, both groups of men had similar testosterone levels. For the migraine group, that meant the overall testosterone-to-estrogen ratio was lower.
Researchers said the study, while small, points to the importance of hormone balance in men's migraines as well.

It has long been known that hormone fluctuations may trigger women's migraines. About three quarters of migraine sufferers are women, and more than half of their migraines strike near the time of their monthly menstrual period, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.

The link is thought to be explained by shifts in "female" hormones, particularly estrogen, which affects pain perception. There is also evidence that estrogen makes the brain more susceptible to "cortical spreading depolarization," said Dr. Ron van Oosterhout, lead researcher on the new study.

That refers to a "spreading wave of hyperactivity" among cells at the brain's surface, followed by a period of "silence," explained van Oosterhout, a neuro-logist at Leiden University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It's considered a possible underlying cause of migraines.

Little research has looked into the role of hormones in men's migraines, and that research has focused on testosterone, said Dr. Jelena Pavlovic, an assistant professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

"But hormones don't work in isolation," noted Pavlovic, who was not involved in the study.

That's why van Oosterhout and his team measured not only levels of test-osterone, but also estradiol (a type of estrogen).  They took blood samples from 22 men with no history of recurrent headaches, and from 17 men with periodic migraines -- three times a month, on average. Overall, the study found, men with migraines had higher estradiol levels between migraine attacks, versus migraine-free men. Their testosterone levels were similar.

The findings were published online June 27 in the journal Neurology. Certain factors can raise a man's estrogen levels, including excess body fat and age. But, van Oosterhout said, the two groups had similar demographics, and there were no differences in their average age or body mass index. None were taking medications that could affect their hormone levels. Pavlovic said the findings point to a role for estrogen in not only women's migraines, but in men's as well.

"This study scratches the surface," she said. "Now we need to dig deeper."

Some men also showed a rise in testosterone right before their migraines struck. That happened in men with so-called premonitory symptoms -- signals such as excessive yawning, fatigue and food cravings -- which warned them a migraine was coming. Researchers point to a possible explanation: The pre-migraine warning signs stressed the men out, and the stress, in turn, raised their testosterone levels.That would make sense, Pavlovic agreed.

Larger studies are still needed to understand how hormones play into men's migraines, van Oosterhout said. And it's too early to say whether there could be treatment implications, he stressed. Pavlovic made the same point. She cautioned against jumping to any conclusions that men with migraines could benefit from testosterone therapy to "balance out" their estrogen levels.

That might turn out to be the case, she said. But more extensive studies are needed first.  And, van Oosterhout noted, hormone treatment has not yet proven effective for women with migraines.

In the United States alone, an estimated 39 million people have migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Worldwide, that number is roughly 1 billion. There is no cure, but medications can prevent the headaches in people who have them often.  People also have different "triggers" for their migraines, such as dehydration, skipping meals, getting too little sleep or drinking alcohol, according to the foundation. Experts advise avoiding those triggers whenever possible.

More information
For more on migraines, visit the Migraine Research Foundation.


Pyridoxine is a vitamin. It can be found in certain foods such as cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs. It can also be made in a laboratory.

 Pyridoxine is used for preventing and treating low levels of pyridoxine (pyridoxine deficiency) and the “tired blood” (anemia) that may result. It is also used for heart disease; high cholesterol; reducing blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical that might be linked to heart disease; and helping clogged arteries stay open after a balloon procedure to unblock them (angioplasty).

 Women use pyridoxine for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other menstruation problems, "morning sickness" (nausea and vomiting) in early pregnancy, stopping milk flow after childbirth, depression related to pregnancy or using birth control pills, and symptoms of menopause.

 Pyridoxine is also used for Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, autism, diabetes and related nerve pain, sickle cell anemia, migraine headaches, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, night leg cramps, muscle cramps, arthritis, allergies, acne and various other skin conditions, and infertility. It is also used for dizziness, motion sickness, preventing the eye disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD), seizures, convulsions due to fever, and movement disorders (tardive dyskinesia, hyperkinesis, chorea), as well as for increasing appetite and helping people remember dreams.

 Some people use pyridoxine for boosting the immune system, eye infections, bladder infections, and preventing cancer and kidney stones.

 Pyridoxine is also used to overcome certain harmful side effects related to radiation treatment and treatment with medications such as mitomycin, procarbazine, cycloserine, fluorouracil, hydrazine, isoniazid, penicillamine, and vincristine.

 Pyridoxine is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex products.

 You may remember a prescription medication called Bendectin that was used for morning sickness in pregnancy. Bendectin contained pyridoxine and a sleep-inducing antihistamine called doxylamine. The makers of Bendectin took it off the market in 1983 because they were running up expensive legal bills in defense of their product. Opponents charged it might be responsible for birth defects. Meanwhile, a product called Diclectin that is similar to Bendectin remained available in Canada, and there was research showing that neither pyridoxine nor Bendectin seems to cause birth defects in animals. After Bendectin was removed from the market, there was no reduction in birth defects, but hospitalization rates for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting doubled.

How does it work?
Pyridoxine is required for the proper function of sugars, fats, and proteins in the body. It is also required for the proper growth and development of the brain, nerves, skin, and many other parts of the body.

APS Pharmacy makes no claims about the efficacy of products or therapies.

For more information about B6 click here.

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