Link between cognition and independence
Subtle differences in cognition can help identify people who are at increased risk later in life that they will no longer be able to cope with everyday life without the help of other people.
Does cognition indicate early in life how independent people will be in old age? (Image: pikselstock / Stock.Adobe.com)
Cognitive performance can indicate whether people will need help with daily activities later in life, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The results were published in the English language journal “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease”.
The study was conducted on a diverse cohort of Latinos in the United States. In total, data from more than 6,000 participants who were part of the Hispanic Community Health Study / Latino Study were analyzed. Researchers have found the most serious results in people aged 70 and over. Gender and ethnicity were not significant differentiating factors.
Test result indicates independence years later
The study linked poorer performance on a cognitive performance test to a higher risk of impairment in everyday life almost a decade later, the researchers report.
Protect independence in old age
Identifying risk factors for impending impairment in daily life is a critical first step in protecting the autonomy of older people, reducing the burden on caregivers and reducing the public health costs associated with dementia, the research group explains. .
Judgment on the degree of dependence on activities
The participants took various cognitive tests. About seven years later, the researchers then used a questionnaire to assess the degree of their dependence on activities of daily living.
Which activities were particularly interesting?
Specifically, the team looked at cognitively stimulating activities that were considered important in daily life, such as managing finances. These types of mentally demanding activities tend to be made more difficult in dementia than basic activities like personal care, the researchers explain.
Many people showed no impairment
The majority of participants showed no impairment in activities of daily living. Nevertheless, it was evident that people with lower cognitive performance on the test had a higher risk of later limitations in daily activities. This shows how important cognitive health in middle age can be for later life, the researchers point out.
Predict the severity of the impairment?
Performance in learning and memory tasks could also predict the severity of future impairments in activities of daily living, the research team reports. Impairments in learning and memory functions are common in dementia, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. The study may have revealed the early stages of these diseases, the team reports.
In the future, researchers plan to study several biological, genetic, and psychosocial factors that could be used to link cognition and activities of daily living. The objective is to maintain autonomy in old age for the benefit of the people concerned, their families and public health. (as)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Ariana M. Stickel, Wassim Tarraf, Bensona Wu, Maria J. Marquine, Priscilla Vásquez et al .: Cognition and Daily Functioning: Results from the Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos (SOL) and Study of Latinos-Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging (SOL-INCA), in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (published 08/20/2020), Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.