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Obesity and Brain Vulnerability in Normal and Abnormal Aging: A Multimodal MRI Study

Dake M, De Marco M, Blackburn D, Wilkinson I, Remes A, Liu Y, Pikkarainen M, Hallikainen M, Soininen H, Venneri A (2021) Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 65-77, 2021 DOI: 10.3233/ADR-200267 

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Abstract:

Background:

How the relationship between obesity and MRI-defined neural properties varies across distinct stages of cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease is unclear.

Objective:

We used multimodal neuroimaging to clarify this relationship.

Methods:

Scans were acquired from 47 patients clinically diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia, 68 patients with mild cognitive impairment, and 57 cognitively healthy individuals. Voxel-wise associations were run between maps of gray matter volume, white matter integrity, and cerebral blood flow, and global/visceral obesity.

Results:

Negative associations were found in cognitively healthy individuals between obesity and white matter integrity and cerebral blood flow of temporo-parietal regions. In mild cognitive impairment, negative associations emerged in frontal, temporal, and brainstem regions. In mild dementia, a positive association was found between obesity and gray matter volume around the right temporoparietal junction.

Conclusion:

Obesity might contribute toward neural tissue vulnerability in cognitively healthy individuals and mild cognitive impairment, while a healthy weight in mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia could help preserve brain structure in the presence of age and disease-related weight loss.

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