A recent study carried out at the Sant Pau Memory Unit in collaboration with the Endocrinology Unit of Hospital Clínic (Barcelona) suggests that unintentional weight loss in cognitively healthy subjects might be related with Alzheimer’s disease.
Our work is focused on healthy individuals, in other words, without any sign of cognitive impairment. The study has been performed by the neuroimaging team of the Sant Pau Memory Unit and it has been titled: “Weight loss in the healthy elderly might be a non-cognitive sign of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease”. The paper has been published in December on the Oncotarget journal.
Applying different types of statistical analysis and imaging techniques, a three-way relationship is shown between unintentional weight loss and different Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. First, the investigation shows that subjects who involuntarily lose weight over the years end up having a worse cognitive performance; second, these same subjects have higher levels of tau and amyloid (proteins directly related with the physiopathological process of Alzheimer’s disease); and finally, researchers have observed morphological changes in the cerebral cortex. Briefly, individuals who lose weight have less cortical thickness than the rest of the participants. Moreover, when these subjects are re-evaluated after two years not only they have less cortical thickness, but they are experiencing an accelerated longitudinal atrophy.
These results provide a new vision of the relationship between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease concluding that weight loss may be a sign of preclinical Alzheimer Disease.