Mild cognitive impairment is associated with disability and neuropsychiatric symptoms

February 7, 2012

In low- and middle-income countries, mild cognitive impairment—an intermediate state between normal signs of cognitive aging, such as becoming increasingly forgetful, and dementia, which may or may not progress—is consistently associated with higher disability and with neuropsychiatric symptoms but not with most socio-demographic factors, according to a large study published in this week's PLoS Medicine.

The established 10/66 Dementia Research Group interviewed approximately 15 000 people over 65 years of age who did not have dementia in eight low- and middle-incomes countries: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, China, and India.

Participants also completed standardized assessments of their mental and physical health and cognitive function and the researchers also interviewed relatives and carers for further details about any memory loss or other declines in cognitive function or the presence of any neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Then, using a clinical framework and a statistical model, the authors found that mild with related memory problems was associated with disability, anxiety, apathy, and irritability but not with depression.

Increasing age or former education level did not seem to be linked but the authors found that men had a slightly higher prevalence of mild cognitive impairment than women. Furthermore, the prevalence of this type of mild cognitive impairment ranged from 0.8% in China to 4.3% in India.

The authors say: "This is one of the first studies, to our knowledge, to investigate the prevalence of [mild cognitive impairment with related memory problems] in [low- and middle-income countries], where the large majority of older people and people with dementia currently live."

They continue: "Differences in prevalence between countries were marked and ranged from 0.8% (China) to 4.3% (India), that is, greater than fivefold variation. After direct standardization for age, gender, and education, using the whole population as the reference, these differences were not markedly attenuated."

The authors conclude: "Further evaluation is needed of the associations with disability and neuropsychiatric symptoms since our findings do suggest higher than expected comorbidity and there are large absolute numbers of older people with [ with related ] in these rapidly ageing and populous world regions."

More information: Sosa AL, Albanese E, Stephan BCM, Dewey M, Acosta D, et al. (2012) Prevalence, Distribution, and Impact of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Latin America, China, and India: A 10/66 Population-Based Study. PLoS Med 9(2): e1001170. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001170

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Surprising similarity in fly and mouse motion vision

July 29, 2015

At first glance, the eyes of mammals and those of insects do not seem to have much in common. However, a comparison of the neural circuits for detecting motion shows surprising parallels between flies and mice. Scientists ...

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

July 28, 2015

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that ...

New research rethinks how we grab and hold onto objects

July 28, 2015

It's been a long day. You open your fridge and grab a nice, cold beer. A pretty simple task, right? Wrong. While you're debating between an IPA and a lager, your nervous system is calculating a complex problem: how hard to ...

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

July 27, 2015

Like Duke Ellington's 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.