Memory loss increases the risk of death

Researchers discover that even mild memory problems increase risk

NS Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

September 6, 2011-A new study shows that older people with thinking and memory problems known as cognitive impairment are at increased risk of death.

“The association between cognitive deficits and risk of death was also found in mild disabilities,” said Greg A. Sachs, a medical professor and Center Four scientist. aging Study at Indiana University School of Medicine Regenstrief Institute.

“If the disability is moderate to severe, the impact on mortality risk is [for] Many chronic diseases like Congestive heart failure When Diabetes mellitus“He told WebMD.

Link has been studied for about a decade, Sax told WebMD. The new research will further strengthen the association, says Sax, who is also the director of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the university. This is a link, not a proven cause and effect.

About 5.4 million Americans Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimer’s disease Association.

This study was funded by the Federal Department of Medical Research and Quality.It is published in Annual report of internal medicine.

Memory problems and risk of death: study details

Sax studied 3,957 men and women between the ages of 60 and 102. They were screened on an appointment with a primary care physician. Evaluation began between January 1991 and May 1993.

The researchers asked 10 questions to assess their mental state. Depending on the results, they classified men and women as having no cognitive impairment, mild, moderate, or severe impairment.

If the disability is mild, there are problems with attention, language, judgment, memory, and reading and writing.It is called when it is so serious that it progresses and greatly interferes with daily activities. dementia.. For example, a person with a mild disability cannot remember an appointment or the name of a new person.

At the beginning of the study, 3,157 had no mental illness, 533 had mild disability, and 267 had moderate to severe problems.

The Sax team followed up to see who had died by December 31, 2006.

By the end of the study, 57% of people without disabilities had died. However, 68% of people with mild memory and 79% of people with moderate to severe memory problems died.

The median survival (half long, half short) was 138 months in people without disabilities. It was 106 for people with mild disabilities. People with moderate to severe disabilities were 63 months old.

As in most cases, this study had some limitations. Men and women were only tested first. Memory and thinking problems were not tracked over time.

All patients were from Indianapolis. They tended to have low education levels and low socio-economic status. As a result, the findings may not apply to everyone.

However, Sachs said the findings remind us that cognitive impairment is important for doctors to assess. He says that some doctors and patients dismiss memory and thinking problems as inevitable with age.

It takes as much care as a doctor usually pays for screening Heart disease When cancer, Sax says.

Cognitive deficits can be associated with mortality risk in a variety of ways, he says. Those who have it may be at risk for other problems such as falls. They may be less likely to follow the instructions for taking medications for other chronic illnesses.They may be less likely to follow the instructions for a healthy diet diet, Increases the risk of health problems.

To minimize age-related cognitive impairment, the saxophone is physical exercise, Mental involvement, and social contact.

Memory and thinking problems and risk of death

The new study “is another proof that mild cognitive impairment is far from benign,” said Terry E, a researcher at the Feinstein Institute of Medicine and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Hoffstra North Shore. Dr. Goldberg said. -LIJ School of Medicine.

In his own recent study, Goldberg found that cognitive information was more accurate in predicting who would go to. Alzheimer’s disease Illness rather than changes in brain volume.

To reduce the risk of disability, he says physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on the chemicals in the brain that affect memory.

“There is some evidence that lifelong mental activity is certainly effective,” he says.healthy diet Also recommended. Goldberg reports a research grant from Pfizer and is a Merck consultant.

Dr. William H. Teeth, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the findings support the idea that cognitive impairment should not be dismissed. “This treatise is really a very solid study, documenting that the more cognitive impairment you have, the sooner you die,” he told WebMD. “We need to start taking dementia Seriously and recognize it as a deadly illness. “

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Source: Greg A. Sachs, Professor of Medicine, Director of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Center for Aging Research, Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Terry E. Goldberg, PhD, Researcher, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research; Psychiatry And Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Dr. William H. Teeth, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the Alzheimer Society, Sax, G. Annual Report of Internal Medicine, September 6, 2011, Volume 155: pp300-309. © 2011 WebMD, LLC. all rights reserved.

Memory loss increases the risk of death

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