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Neurology. 2004 Nov 23;63(10):1876-81.

A 24-year follow-up of body mass index and cerebral atrophy.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.



To investigate the longitudinal relationship between body mass index (BMI), a major vascular risk factor, and cerebral atrophy, a marker of neurodegeneration, in a population-based sample of middle-aged women.


A representative sample of 290 women born in 1908, 1914, 1918, and 1922 was examined in 1968 to 1969, 1974 to 1975, 1980 to 1981, and 1992 to 1993 as part of the Population Study of Women in Göteborg, Sweden. At each examination, women completed a survey on a variety of health and lifestyle factors and underwent anthropometric, clinical, and neuropsychiatric assessments and blood collection. Atrophy of the temporal, frontal, occipital, and parietal lobes was measured on CT in 1992 when participants were age 70 to 84. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between BMI and brain measures.


Women with atrophy of the temporal lobe were, on average, 1.1 to 1.5 kg/m2 higher in BMI at all examinations than women without temporal atrophy (p < 0.05). Multivariate analyses showed that age and BMI were the only significant predictors of temporal atrophy. Risk of temporal atrophy increased 13 to 16% per 1.0-kg/m2 increase in BMI (p < 0.05). There were no associations between BMI and atrophy measured at three other brain locations.


Overweight and obesity throughout adult life may contribute to the development of temporal atrophy in women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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