Lower BMI may increase risk of Alzheimer's

Lower BMI may increase risk of Alzheimer's, study showsA new study conducted by researchers from the University of Kansas found that the previous belief that middle-aged individuals who are overweight have a higher chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease later in life may not be true. The findings showed that those in the early stages of the disease have a lower BMI than those who are overweight.

The researchers studied more than 500 people and found that 85 percent of the people with mild cognitive impairment who had a BMI of 25 or lower had beta-amyloid plaques in their brains, which is a sign of Alzheimer's. This was compared to the 48 percent of those with mild cognitive impairment who were overweight and had the same plaques.

"These results suggest Alzheimer's disease brain changes are associated with systemic metabolic changes in the very earliest phases of the disease," said study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Burns. "This might be due to damage in the area of the brain called the hypothalamus that plays a role in regulating energy metabolism and food intake."

Burns added that studies in the future should focus on whether this a precursor for any disease or if it specifically applies to Alzheimer's.