Nutritional status and structural brain changes in Alzheimer's disease: The NUDAD project

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2020 Aug 11;12(1):e12063. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12063. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Weight loss is associated with higher mortality and progression of cognitive decline, but its associations with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes related to Alzheimer's disease (AD) are unknown.

Methods: We included 412 patients from the NUDAD project, comprising 129 with AD dementia, 107 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 176 controls. Associations between nutritional status and MRI measures were analyzed using linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, education, cognitive functioning, and cardiovascular risk factors.

Results: Lower body mass index (BMI), fat mass (FM), and fat free mass index were associated with higher medial temporal atrophy (MTA) scores. Lower BMI, FM, and waist circumference were associated with more microbleeds. Stratification by diagnosis showed that the observed associations with microbleeds were only significant in MCI.

Discussion: Lower indicators of nutritional status were associated with more MTA and microbleeds, with largest effect sizes in MCI.

Keywords: body mass index; cerebral atrophy; fat free mass; fat mass; magnetic resonance imaging; malnutrition; microbleeds; mild cognitive impairment; nutritional status; white matter hyperintensities.