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Hypothalamic atrophy is related to body mass index and age at onset in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  1. Rebekah Ahmed1,
  2. I. Sadaf Farooqi2
  1. 1Brain and Mind Centre and Sydney Medical School,University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories and the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre,Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rebekah Ahmed, ForeFront Clinic Brain and Mind Centre 94 Mallett St Camperdown, NSW Australia 2050 ; rebekah.ahmed{at}sydney.edu.au

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The hypothalamus, energy balance and neurodegeneration

There is growing interest in understanding the specific brain regions underlying the association between metabolic changes and a range of neurodegenerative diseases.1–3 Atrophy of the hypothalamus, a region critical to the regulation of energy balance, has been observed in Huntington’s disease4 and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).5 6 In their JNNP paper, - Gorges and colleagues7 found that people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), part of the spectrum of neurodegenerative disease that includes FTD, also had substantially decreased hypothalamic volumes measured by 3 T MRI.

Why is this finding important? The hypothalamus contains neurons that regulate eating behaviour and autonomic function and has functional projections to the striatum, thalamus, brainstem, orbitofrontal cortex and other brain …

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