Alzheimer Disease biomarkers and a low body mass index (BMI) are linked in the development of the disease, according to a study led by APTA member Eric Vidoni, PT, PhD, and recently published in Neurology. The study was mentioned in the online editions of US News & World Report, CBS News, and CNN Health. Vidoni was the recipient of a 2009 New Investigator Fellowship Training Initiative (NIFTI) postdoctoral research fellowship from the Foundation for Physical Therapy, which provided partial funding for the study.
For this study, Vidoni and colleagues analyzed cross-sectional data from participants enrolled in the Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) with PET imaging using Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB, n = 101) or Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyses (n = 405) for β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) and total tau. They assessed the relationship of CSF biomarkers and global PiB uptake with BMI using linear regression controlling for age and sex. They also assessed BMI differences between participants who were and were not considered biomarker positive. Finally, they assessed BMI change over 2 years in relationship to Alzheimer Disease biomarkers.
According to their findings, no dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer Disease groups were not different in age, education, or BMI. In the overall sample, CSF Aβ (β = 0.181), tau (β = −0.179), tau/Aβ ratio (β = −0.180), and global PiB uptake (β = −0.272) were associated with BMI, with markers of increased Alzheimer Disease burden associated with lower BMI. Fewer overweight individuals had biomarker levels indicative of pathophysiology. These relationships were strongest in the MCI and no dementia groups.
Vidoni’s 2-year Foundation funded NIFTI research fellowship supported work on his project titled "Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Executive Function in Early Alzheimer’s Disease," which was completed at the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center. He recently received a KL2 Career Development Award, and currently acts as the assistant director of KU’s Alzheimer Disease Center, a designated National Alzheimer Disease Center by the National Institutes of Health, as well as a research assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.