[PHNUTR-L] Accelerating weight loss may signal development of
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Tue Sep 12 16:33:38 PDT 2006
Colleagues, the following is FYI and does not necessarily reflect my own
opinion. I have no further knowledge of the topic. If you do not wish to
receive these posts, set your email filter to filter out any messages
coming from @nutritionucanlivewith.com and the program will remove
anything coming from me.
Public release date: 11-Sep-2006
Contact: Michael Purdy
JAMA and Archives Journals
Accelerating weight loss may signal development of Alzheimer's disease
The slow, steady weight loss associated with aging may speed up prior to
the onset of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, according to an
article in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the
Changes that occur with aging, such as reduced appetite and diminishing
height, may induce weight loss in older adults, according to background
information in the article. Alzheimer's disease has also been linked to
age-related weight loss. Those in the late stages of the disease can
lose up to 2 pounds per year; those who lose more weight are more likely
to progress quickly and to be placed in a nursing home.
David K. Johnson, Ph.D., and colleagues at Washington University School
of Medicine, St. Louis, studied weight loss before the development of
dementia in 449 healthy adults (192 men, 257 women). At the beginning of
the study and then yearly for an average of six years, the participants
were assessed for dementia, weighed and asked questions about their
Over the course of the study, 125 participants developed dementia
related to Alzheimer's disease. Those who did weighed about eight pounds
less at the beginning of the study than those who did not develop
Alzheimer's disease. In addition, "an acceleration in the rate of weight
loss was a harbinger of the change from non-demented status to dementia
of the Alzheimer's type," the authors write. "Participants lost about .6
pounds per year while without dementia, but one year before the first
symptomatic detection of dementia of the Alzheimer's type, the rate of
weight loss in individuals doubled to 1.2 pounds per year." This
association held when the researchers controlled for other factors that
might influence weight loss, including age, sex, health status,
hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke history.
It is unclear exactly why weight loss is associated with dementia, the
authors write. Some have hypothesized that individuals with dementia
forget to eat, but this is unlikely given the finding that weight loss
precedes the onset of memory problems and other dementia symptoms.
Depression has also been suggested as a link, but although study
participants with dementia were more depressed, depressed patients did
not have any changes in body weight compared with those who were
non-depressed. "There are reports of mild to moderate changes in taste
and smell in healthy aging populations and in populations with dementia,
and these factors need to be measured rigorously in future studies," the
authors write. "Subtle gustatory changes could result in cumulative
decreases in caloric intake or decreases in the quality of food consumed
by individuals with dementia of the Alzheimer's type."
If these results are confirmed in larger studies, they conclude, "weight
loss may be a preclinical indicator of Alzheimer's disease."
(Arch Neurol. 2006;63:1312-1317.
Editor's Note: This study was supported by grants from the National
Institute on Aging and by the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Charitable
Trust. Please see the article for additional information, including
other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial
disclosures, funding and support, etc.
For more information, contact JAMA/Archives Media Relations at
312/464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail mediarelations at jama-archives.org.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
More information about the PHNUTR-L