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Frailty tied to subjective cognitive decline in elderly women

30 May 2019

Frailty shares a relationship with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) in elderly women, which appears before the incidence of overt dementia, a recent study has found.

Researchers performed a cross-sectional analysis of 306 elderly adults (mean age, 73±7 years; 42 percent female), of whom 174 had normal cognition, while the remaining 132 had mild cognitive impairment. SCD was measured using the Everyday Cognition Scale (ECog), while the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was used to evaluate objective cognition.

Researchers observed a significant correlation between the frailty composite score and MoCA performance in women (odds ratio [OR], 0.56; p=0.04). This was attenuated after the exclusion of one outlier, though the end result was still of borderline significance (OR, 0.59; p=0.08).

There was also a significant link between the frailty composite score and ECog total (OR, 2.27; p=0.02), planning (OR, 2.63; p=0.022) and organization (OR, 2.39; p=0.03) scores. In other words, each unit increase in the frailty composite score resulted in at least a twofold rise in the likelihood of cognitive complaints.

Of the frailty components, gait speed appeared to be the most relevant, being significantly linked to the total (OR, 0.06; p=0.003) and memory (OR, 0.03; p<0.001) ECog scores. Grip strength, in comparison, was associated only with ECog planning scores (OR, 0.91; p=0.04). Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.

In men, the associations between frailty and objective or subjective cognition were attenuated after sensitivity and stratified analyses.

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