Malnutrition assessment by Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition criteria in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Michele Barone*, Alfredo Di Leo, Marian A.E. de van der Schueren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Malnutrition can play an important prognostic role in terms of survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this clinical context, applying criteria defining malnutrition requires particular attention, especially in the initial stage of the disease. This article discusses the application of the most recent criteria used for the definition of malnutrition when applied to patients with ALS. Currently, the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria, which have received a worldwide consensus, are based on parameters such as unintentional weight loss, low body mass index (BMI), and reduced muscle mass (phenotypic criteria) in combination with reduced food intake and assimilation or inflammation and disease (etiologic criteria). However, as discussed in this review, the initial unintentional weight loss and the consequent BMI reduction could be attributed, at least in part, to muscle atrophy, which also alters the reliability of muscle mass assessment. Moreover, the condition of hypermetabolism, which is observed in up to 50% of these patients, may complicate the calculation of total energy requirements. Finally, it remains to be established if the presence of neuroinflammation can be considered a type of inflammatory process able to induce malnutrition in these patients. In conclusion, the monitoring of BMI, associated with body composition evaluation by bioimpedance measurement or specific formulas, could be a practicable approach to the diagnosis of malnutrition in patients with ALS. In addition, attention should be given to dietary intake (e.g., in patients with dysphagia) and excessive involuntary weight loss. On the other hand, as suggested by GLIM criteria, a single assessment of BMI resulting in <20 kg/m2 or <22 kg/m2 in patients aged <70 y and ≥70 y, respectively, should always be considered a sign of malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111997
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • GLIM criteria
  • Hypermetabolism
  • Muscle mass loss
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuroinflammation


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