A new study found that women suffer from dementia go through a weight loss a decade before dementia fully sets in. However, the weight loss is so small that it can’t be used to predict who will develop dementia. What the funding shows is that there is a long incubation period for the disease and that some of the symptoms may be present two decades before memory problems start appearing.

The researchers examined around 500 people of both genders who were diagnosed with dementia. They looked into their medical records going back decades to check the weights of the study participants, so they could compare them to the control group.

Weight loss in men had nothing to do with dementia incidence but in women weight loss a decade before the symptoms started was noticed. Although it is a matter of a few pounds only, women who did develop dementia were a bit lighter than those who did not develop the disease.

It is still not known why women who develop dementia lose weight years earlier and men don't. It is thought that it had to do with social and biological factors. Older women may start eating less as they live alone or approaching dementia could lead to decreased sense of taste and smell and make them less interested in food. Also, it is being theorized that dementia affects the way the body processes blood sugar.

The researchers are hoping that these findings may lead to earlier diagnosis of dementia as well as help with developing preventive treatments for Alzheimer's disease.