AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Study Finds Alzheimer’s Disease Likely Not Caused by Low Body Mass Index

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Research clarifies past studies on weight, common cause of dementia

A new large-scale genetic study found that low body mass index (BMI) is likely not a causal risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, as earlier research had suggested, according to a study.
“Although prior studies found an association between Alzheimer’s disease and low BMI, the new findings suggest this is not a causal relationship,” said the study’s senior author, Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, MD, DMSc, PhD, chief physician at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, and associate research professor at the University of Copenhagen. “The association can likely be explained by the fact that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to have low BMIs due to loss of appetite and weight loss in the early stages of the disease.” More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report. The disease affects the brain and is a common form of dementia. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

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