Author(s): Nau KL, Dick AR, Peters K, Schloerb PR
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Abstract Tracking body composition is necessary to understand how amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is affecting a patient's morphology and to provide a basis for appropriate nutritional advice throughout disease progression. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) has been shown to reliably detect body composition changes in persons with ALS. However, this procedure is expensive and available primarily for research. The purpose of this study was to determine the relative validity of two common clinical techniques, anthropometry and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), for measuring the body composition of persons with ALS. Twenty-three persons with ALS volunteered for the study; seven with primarily bulbar symptoms, five with primarily arm weakness, five with primarily leg weakness, and six with significant weakness in all extremities. On a single day subjects underwent body composition analysis by the three techniques, with DEXA serving as the criterion method. Anthropometry and BIA results were converted to lean and fat mass using eight prediction equations commonly cited in the literature. Anthropometry measures were also converted to estimates of muscle mass using two additional equations. Both BIA and anthropometry tended to overestimate lean mass and underestimate fat mass compared to DEXA. However, the BIA prediction equations had smaller mean differences, larger correlations, and smaller standard errors of estimate than the anthropometry equations. The Lukaski et al. BIA equation (Lukaski, H.C., Bolonchuk, W.W., Hall, C.B., Siders, W.A., 1986. Validation of tetrapolar bioelectrical impedance method to assess human body composition. J. Appl. Physiol. 60, 1327-1332) most closely matched the values derived by DEXA and is probably the best method for measuring the lean and fat mass of persons with ALS, as long as they maintain adequate hydration levels. The Heymsfield et al. equation (Heymsfield, S.B., McManus, C., Smith, J., Stevens, V., Nixon, D.W., 1982. Anthropometric measurement of muscle mass: revised equations for calculating bone-free arm muscle area. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 36, 680-690) for estimating muscle mass may also be a useful clinical tool for this population. Further longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether the equations that correlated best with DEXA at a single point in time are also sensitive enough to detect changes in body composition over a period of time.
This article was published in J Neurol Sci
and referenced in Internal Medicine: Open Access