, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 231-236
Date: 15 Nov 2011

Nutritional and psycho-functional status in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease

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Abstract

Objectives

Analysis of variations of nutritional status in relation to psycho-functional conditions in elderly patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by means of bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA).

Design

Cross-sectional study. Setting: Alzheimer Center, SS. Trinità Hospital, Cagliari (Italy).

Participants

83 free-living patients (29 men, 54 women) with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, aged 66 to 96 years, and 91 age-matched controls (37 men and 54 women).

Measurements

Nutritional status was evaluated by anthropometry (weight, height, waist and upper arm circumferences, triceps skinfold; body mass index, BMI; arm muscle area, AMA); Mini Nutritional Assessment, MNA®; bioelectrical impedance vector analysis, BIVA. Psycho-functional status was assessed by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL).

Results

Compared to the control groups, patients with Alzheimer’s disease had a worse psycho-functional and nutritional status. BIVA detected lower body cell mass in Alzheimer’s patients with respect to controls (men: T2= 23.4; women: T2=27.3; p<0.01), as well as in the female patients with lower levels of IADL and MMSE (respectively, T2= 8.0; T2=7.4; p<0.05). In patients with AD, a worse psycho-functional status was associated with obesity.

Conclusion

The psycho-functional decline of patients with AD is related to body composition variations, with a relative increase of fat mass with respect to the muscle component. The BIVA technique distinguished patients from controls and patients with different levels of cognitive decline. Therefore, it is a suitable tool for the screening and monitoring of nutritional status in Alzheimer’s disease.