Amyloid-beta burden predicts prospective decline in body mass index in clinically normal adults

Harvard Aging Brain Study, Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that higher amyloid-beta (Aβ) burden at baseline is associated with greater longitudinal decline in body mass index (BMI) in clinically normal adults. Participants from the Harvard Aging Brain Study (n = 312) and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (n = 336) underwent Aβ positron emission tomography at baseline. BMI was assessed longitudinally over a median of >4 years. Linear mixed models showed that higher baseline Aβ burden was significantly associated with greater decline in BMI in both the Harvard Aging Brain Study (t = −1.93; p = 0.05) and Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative cohorts (t = −2.54; p = 0.01), after adjusting for covariates, including cognitive performance and depressive symptoms. In addition, the association of Aβ burden with longitudinal decline in BMI persisted in both cohorts after excluding participants with diabetes/endocrine disturbances and participants classified as underweight or obese (BMI <18.5 or >30). These findings suggest that decline in BMI in clinically normal adults may be an early manifestation related to cerebral amyloidosis that precedes objective cognitive impairment. Therefore, unintentional BMI decline in otherwise healthy individuals might alert clinicians to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • ADNI
  • Amyloid-beta
  • Body mass index
  • HABS
  • Longitudinal
  • Preclinical Alzheimer's disease
  • Weight loss


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