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The relationship between nutritional status and white matter integrity in older adults: A diffusion tensor imaging study.

Clinical Nutrition 2024 April 2
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study to determinate whether there is a relationship between the nutritional status and white matter integrity in older patients by using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI).

METHODS: The patients were evaluated by Mini-Nutritional Assessment Scale. The patients are categorized in the groups of well-nourished, risk of malnutrition, or malnourished, depending on the overall score> 23.5, 17-23.5, or 17; respectively. All patients had brain MRI and DTI. The mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity (RD) values were calculated by ROI-based method in white matter tracts.

RESULTS: Total of the 224 patients; 86 patients had normal nutrition status (group 1), 107 patients were diagnosed with malnutrition risk (group 2) and 31 patients were diagnosed with malnutrition (group 3). Significantly decreased FA values of genu of corpus callosum, forceps minor and significantly increased MD values of middle cerebellar peduncle, and superior frontooccipital fasciculus were detected in group 2 in comparison to group 1 (p < 0.05). After adjusting for the folate and age, MD and RD values of cingulum remained significantly higher and the AD values of superior cerebellar peduncle remained significantly lower in group 3 (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Malnutrition was associated with deteriorated DTI values, especially in cingulum and superior cerebellar peduncle. Assessing the nutritional status of older individuals is crucial to avoid its negative impact on brain.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Early diagnosis of malnutrition-related impaired WM integrity is important for prevention and intervention, and DTI is a useful non-invasive technique to be used for this purpose.

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