A hormone obtained from belly fat, adiponectin, may be a risk factor for development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in women, according to a study.

Researchers at Tufts University said that their data suggested an association between insulin resistance and inflammation are predictors for Type 2 diabetes and the development of dementia.

"An additional potential factor that may contribute to the onset of AD and all-cause dementia is adiponectin,” the authors of the study wrote.

Adiponectin “sensitizes the body to insulin, has anti-inflammatory properties, and plays a role in the metabolism of glucose and lipids," the authors wrote in the study.

A total of 541participants, women with a median age of 76 years, were followed-up for an average of 13 years and assessed for signs of the development of Alzheimer Disease and all-cause dementia. In the course of the study, 159 participants developed dementia, including 125 cases of Alzheimer Disease.

Researchers adjusted for other dementia risk factors like age, apoE genotype, low plasma docosahexaenoic acid and weight change.  They found that only adiponectin in women was associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement.

The authors wrote it “is well established that insulin signaling is dysfunctional in the brains of patients with Alzheimer disease.”

“[S]ince adiponectin enhances insulin sensitivity, one would also expect beneficial actions protecting against cognitive decline," they added.

"Our data, however, indicate that elevated adiponectin level was associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease in women."

Researchers said that adiponectin may become a therapeutic target for treatment of type 2 diabetes, and that the hormone may also be an independent predictor for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease.