Older people who weigh less may be more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease, says a new study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The team arrived at this conclusion after assessing 280 generally healthy participants aged 62 to 90.
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According to a news release by Massachusetts General, researchers determined a link between a lower body mass index, or BMI, by using Pittsburgh compound B, a visual indicator of amyloid deposits in the brain.
Beta amyloid is a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease. Experts suspect it may somehow block cellular signals or cause an inflammatory immune response in the brain.
While the correlation with lower weight still needs to be researched further, Dr. Gad Marshall, senior author of the recent study, is quoted as saying: "A likely explanation...is that low BMI is an indicator for frailty - a syndrome involving reduced weight, slower movement and loss of strength that is known to be associated with Alzheimer's risk." He also notes that the team is currently "studying whether BMI is associated with any other clinical and imaging markers of Alzheimer's disease."