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A BMI-Alzheimer's connection


Being thin may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that individuals are slimmer in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s. They compare it to the more overweight characteristic of people who later show signs of heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Kansas City, looked at the relationship of BMI and Alzheimer’s diagnoses. Jeffrey Burns, MD, MS and his team employed advanced brain imagining techniques as well as cerebrospinal flue as biomarkers then compared to BMI. People who were tested ran the gamut of symptoms: some did not show any signs of dementia, others had mild cognitive impairment, some had memory problems and some had been previously diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

They found that participants with the biomarkers for Alzheimer’s had the lowest Body Mass Index (BMI). This included those with no outward signs of the disease.

“The results suggest Alzheimer’s disease brain changes are associated with systemic metabolic changes in the very earliest phases of the disease. This might be due to damage in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus that plays a role in regulating energy metabolism and food intake. Further studies should investigate whether this relationship reflects a systemic response to an unrecognized disease or a long-standing trait that predisposes a person to developing the disease,” said Dr. Burns.

As many as 85% of those with mild cognitive impairment and a BMI of below 25 had beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Only 48% of those with mild cognitive impairment who were overweight had signs of Alzheimer’s .

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Neurology

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