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Severe Dementia Predicts Weight Loss By The Time Of Death

Aline Maria M. Ciciliati, Izabela Ono Adriazola, Daniela Souza Farias-Itao, Carlos Augusto Pasqualucci, Renata Elaine Paraizo Leite, Ricardo Nitrini, Lea T. Grinberg, Wilson Jacob-Filho, Claudia Kimie Suemoto

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Background: Body mass index (BMI) in midlife is associated with dementia. However, the association between BMI and late-life obesity is controversial. Few studies have investigated the association between BMI and cognitive performance near the time of death using data from autopsy examination. We aimed to investigate the association between BMI and dementia in deceased individuals who underwent a full-body autopsy examination.Methods: Weight and height were measured before the autopsy exam. Cognitive function before death was investigated using the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. The cross-sectional association between BMI and dementia was investigated using linear regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical variables.Results: We included 1,090 individuals (mean age 69.5 ± 13.5 years old, 46% women). Most participants (56%) had a normal BMI (18.5–24.9 kg/m2), and the prevalence of dementia was 16%. Twenty-four percent of the sample had cancer, including 76 cases diagnosed only by the autopsy examination. Moderate and severe dementia were associated with lower BMI compared with participants with normal cognition in fully adjusted models (moderate: β = −1.92, 95% CI = −3.77 to −0.06, p = 0.042; severe: β = −2.91, 95% CI = −3.97 to −1.86, p < 0.001).Conclusion: BMI was associated with moderate and severe dementia in late life, but we did not find associations of BMI with less advanced dementia stages.