Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weight Loss May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia In The Elderly

Date:
January 20, 2005
Source:
Journal Of The American Medical Association
Summary:
Dementia-associated weight loss begins before the onset of the definite dementia symptoms and accelerates by the time of the diagnosis, according to a study in the January issue of the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CHICAGO -- Dementia-associated weight loss begins before the onset of the definite dementia symptoms and accelerates by the time of the diagnosis, according to a study in the January issue of the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Weight loss in old age is common and may be related to various diseases, according to background information in the article. "It has long been observed that weight loss is common in Alzheimer disease (AD), but this has been documented in people who already have dementia."

Robert Stewart, M.D., From the Institute of Psychiatry, London, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,890 men (aged 77-98 years) who were participants in The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. This population-based study of Japanese American men included 112 men with incident [new onset] dementia and 1,778 without dementia. The study participants were examined on six occasions over a period of up to 34 years. Weight was measured at each examination and dementia was ascertained at the three most recent examinations.

"Incident dementia was associated with significant previous weight loss, which was independent of a large number of potential confounding factors," the researchers found. "A high proportion of men with dementia at examination 6 had lost at least 5 kg [about 11 pounds], which approaches 10 percent of average body weight for this cohort. This weight loss occurred in many cases over the two to four years prior to reaching the clinical threshold of dementia. The association was similar in AD and vascular dementia."

In conclusion the authors write: "An important consideration arising from research in this area is the extent to which weight loss may be prevented or minimized in dementia. Poor nutrition and frailty frequently complicate later stages of dementia, causing falls, poor wound healing, and increased physical dependence. ...The results presented here suggest that weight change and nutritional state in people with dementia should be taken seriously at least from the time of diagnosis if not at earlier stages of more mild cognitive impairment."

(Arch Neurol. 2005;62:55-60. Available post-embargo at archneurol.com)

Editor's Note: Dr. Stewart was supported by a Research Training Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology from the Wellcome Trust, London, United Kingdom. The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study is supported by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.: National Institute on Aging and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

EDITORIAL: WEIGHT LOSS IN THE ELDERLY MAY BE A SIGN OF IMPENDING DEMENTIA

In an accompanying editorial, Michael Grundman, M.D., M.P.H., from Elan Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, Calif., writes: "The article by Stewart et al in this issue of Archives of Neurology provide evidence that men who develop dementia (both AD and vascular dementia) tend to start losing weight at least several years prior to their clinical diagnoses."

"Since it is already known that specific risk factors and genes are implicated in some patients who develop AD and other susceptibility genes are likely to be discovered, it may be too optimistic to suppose that nutritional approaches will necessarily have a huge impact on preventing AD or slowing cognitive decline. Nevertheless, even modest effects could have large public health implications. The degree to which treatment interventions directed toward maintaining optimal nutrition and preventing excess weight loss could slow the disease course requires more rigorous study."

(Arch Neurol. 2005;62:20-22. Available post-embargo at archneurol.com)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal Of The American Medical Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Weight Loss May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111114930.htm>.
Journal Of The American Medical Association. (2005, January 20). Weight Loss May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia In The Elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111114930.htm
Journal Of The American Medical Association. "Weight Loss May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111114930.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins