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 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.
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