Dementia refers to a wide collection of symptoms caused by certain disorders that affect the brain, leading to impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
The “BRAiNS” cohort study published in the Neurology journal finds that seniors who complain about memory issues have a higher risk of progression to mild cognitive impairment.
This three year longitudinal study also showed that patients with these subjective memory complaints (SMCs) harbor Alzheimer disease-like brain pathology, even if they had no observable cognitive impairment. The study involved 531 cognitively intact participants from the longitudinal Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies (BRAiNS) s Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Kentucky who were offered APOE genotyping and agreed to donate their brain upon death. 63% of the cohort comprised women, and 30% were APOE4 carriers.
The risk factors that may affect the time to transition from one clinical state to another, such as APOE carrier status, female sex, low education, family history of dementia, smoking history, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were studied by investigators. Type 2 diabetes and smoking appeared to decrease the odds of transitioning into the SMC state.
Each year, participants completed multiple tests of memory, language, and executive and visuospatial function and were also asked to notice any change in memory since their last visit.
Memory complaints were reported by more than half (55.7%) of the cohort, and were associated with increased risk of impairment. Mild cognitive impairment (dementia) occurred 9.2 (12.1) years after SMC.
Researchers recommend that physicians should monitor such complaints from their older patients to identify the impairment.
Poorly managed pain in the elderly can also result in dementia, loss of strength and mobility, depression and sleep disturbances. Comprehensive geriatric care management services offered by reliable healthcare centers can meet the varied needs of older adults.