Anthropometric Wrist and Arm Circumference and Their Derivations: Application to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  • Luciano Bruno de Carvalho-Silva


ALS is a degenerative disorder described as the loss of upper and lower motor neurons. ALS patients have an unfavourable prognosis that may influence alterations in the body mass. As a way of following up the clinical evolution of individuals with ALS, nutritional evaluation techniques are frequently used, however, they are not specific for ALS. In this review, we discuss the main anthropometric techniques emphasizing the circumferences, as well as their applications and limitations in ALS patients. All available articles were investigated, and anthropometry is suggested as a good tool, nevertheless, having some limitations and observations. Wrist and arm circumferences and their derivations are good indicators of these individuals’ nutritional state and body composition. It should be noted that these patients typically have asymmetry, a low body mass index and an increase of fat mass. An equation is available for the calculation of fat-free mass in ALS patients. Among the complementary techniques, the bioelectrical impedance analysis at a frequency of 50 kHz is the most suitable. A strong correlation between this bioelectrical method and the measurement of circumferences and their derivations was observed. Therefore, the use of circumferences is suggested in the evaluation and follow-up of ALS patients.


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These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis


Arm muscle area


Bioelectrical impedance


Body mass index


Bicipital skinfold


Dual X-ray absorptiometry


Fat-free mass


Mid-arm circumference


Mid-arm muscle circumference


Subscapular skinfold


Suprailiac skinfold


Tricipital skinfold



Federal University of Alfenas – MG (UNIFAL-MG), Center for Food Security Studies (NEPA), State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, Neuromuscular Outpatient Clinic of UNICAMP and Dra Ana Lúcia de Magalhães Leal Chiappetta (for ALS photos).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal University of Alfenas-MG (UNIFAL-MG), Center for Food Security Studies (NEPA), State University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil

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