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Lancet Neurol. 2006 Aug;5(8):713-20.

Adiposity indices and dementia.

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  • 1Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE 413-45, Göteborg, Sweden.


Indicators of adiposity, such as body-mass index (BMI), may be markers for changes in energy metabolism that influence dementia risk, progression, and ultimately death. Cross-sectional studies show that people with dementia have a lower BMI than those without dementia, which is potentially due to a greater rate of BMI decline occurring during the years immediately preceding dementia onset. However, a high BMI can also increase the risk for dementia when measured before clinical dementia onset, which might be due to vascular disorders or bioactive hormonal compounds that are secreted by adipose tissue. In this personal view, I consider how dementia is associated with BMI by looking at the role of BMI and obesity syndromes, mechanisms associated with adiposity, and the potential for hypothalamic dysregulation during the life course. Understanding the life course of adiposity by use of common surrogate measures, such as BMI, among those who do and do not develop dementia is relevant for understanding the causes of dementia and for shaping possible treatment options.

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