When it’s good to be fat

The constant barrage of conflicting scientific research can generally be easily ignored. But today’s story in the Washington Post is double-take, spit-the-coffee material: It might be good to be fat.

A study of 2 million people found that those who were thinnest were far more likely to develop dementia.

Underweight people had a 34 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those of a normal weight, the study found, while the very obese had a 29 percent lower risk of becoming forgetful and confused and showing other signs of senility.

Obesity levels, like dementia levels, are soaring worldwide.

Researchers said that if other studies confirm the findings, the next step would be to examine if people who eat more unknowingly take in dementia-fighting nutrients in the extra food they consume.

The most recent study, published in Lancet, appears to contradict one conducted as recently as 2008. In that one, obese people in their 40s “were much more likely to get Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in their 70s,” the Post said.

The lead researcher noted, however, that if you’re obese, you’ll probably die before the time when you’re most likely to exhibit dementia.