Most health conditions we encounter are linked to at least one other disease, like we are very much aware of the diabetes-obesity association. Another such duo of Alzheimer’s and obesity seems to have been unfolded by scientists from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and the American Academy of Neurology.

The scientists found that middle-aged people who are obese may be at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s in later stages of life, whereas individuals in the initial phase of this condition apparently manifested lower BMI. For the study, about 506 people were exposed to high-end brain imaging techniques and analyses to look for biomarkers of the disease.

The subjects were suffering from mild memory difficulties, cognitive damage and Alzheimer’s disease. The results showed that people suffering from mild cognitive impairment who possessed Alzheimer’s biomarkers apparently had lower BMI, unlike those who did not possess the biomarkers.

“These results suggest Alzheimer’s disease brain changes are associated with systemic metabolic changes in the very earliest phases of the disease,” commented study author Jeffrey M. Burns, MD, MS, of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The team examined the cerebrospinal fluid and found beta-amyloid plaques, which are the highlight of Alzheimer’s, among people suffering from mild memory problems with BMI less than 25. This was not the case with individuals who had greater BMI and those devoid of memory problems.

One of the reasons for this link between BMI and Alzheimer’s could be the damage of the hypothalamus in the brain, which is responsible for energy metabolism and food consumption. Further trials ought to locate the factors that make a person vulnerable to the disease.

The report is published in the journal, Neurology.