Weight loss predicts progression of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease

Ilaria Cova, Francesca Clerici, Annalia Rossi, Valentina Cucumo, Roberta Ghiretti, Laura Maggiore, Simone Pomati, Daniela Galimberti, Elio Scarpini, Claudio Mariani, Barbara Caracciolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Weight loss is common in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and it could be a marker of impending AD in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and improve prognostic accuracy, if accelerated progression to AD would be shown. Aims To assess weight loss as a predictor of dementia and AD in MCI. Methods One hundred twenty-five subjects with MCI (age 73.8 ± 7.1 years) were followed for an average of 4 years. Two weight measurements were carried out at a minimum time interval of one year. Dementia was defined according to DSM-IV criteria and AD according to NINCDS-ADRDA criteria. Weight loss was defined as a ≥4% decrease in baseline weight. Results Fifty-three (42.4%) MCI progressed to dementia, which was of the AD-type in half of the cases. Weight loss was associated with a 3.4-fold increased risk of dementia (95% CI = 1.5-6.9) and a 3.2-fold increased risk of AD (95% CI = 1.4-8.3). In terms of years lived without disease, weight loss was associated to a 2.3 and 2.5 years earlier onset of dementia and AD. Conclusions Accelerated progression towards dementia and AD is expected when weight loss is observed in MCI patients. Weight should be closely monitored in elderly with mild cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0151710
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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