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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

FARIA, Camila de Assis; LOURENCO, Roberto Alves; RIBEIRO, Pricila Cristina Correa  and  LOPES, Claudia S. Cognitive performance and frailty in older adults clients of a private health care plan. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.5, pp.923-930. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-8910.2013047004451.

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the association between frailty syndrome and cognitive performance in the older adults and the effect of schooling and age on this association.

METHODS

Data on frailty in older adults from Phase 1 of the FIBRA-RJ Study were analyzed, relating to 737 customers of a private health care provider, aged 65 and over, living in Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil, between January 2009 and January 2010. Data on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, medical conditions and functional capacity were collected. Cognitive performance was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Individuals who exhibited three or more of the following features were considered to be frail: unintentional weight loss (≥ 4.5 kg in the last year); feeling self-reported exhaustion, low grip strength, low physical activity level and slowness. The association between frailty and cognitive performance was evaluated using multivariate logistic regression, with adjustment for medical conditions, activities of daily living and socioeconomic variables. We evaluated the age and schooling as possible effect modifiers in this association.

RESULTS

The frail subjects had a higher prevalence of low cognitive performance, compared to not frail or pre-frail, in the three age groups studied (65-74; 75-84; ≥ 85 years), p < 0.001. After adjustment, the association between frailty and cognitive performance was found among older adults individuals aged 75 and older, with an ORadj= 2.78 (95%CI 1.23;6.27) for those aged 75 to 84 and ORadj= 15.62 (95%CI 2.20;110.99) for 85 and older. The age variable was an effect modifier in the association between frailty and cognitive performance, χ2(5) = 806.97, p < 0.0001; the same was not the case with schooling.

CONCLUSIONS

Frailty syndrome is associated with cognitive performance in the aging. Age proved to be an effect modifier in this association. The oldest patients showed a more significant association between the two phenomena.

Keywords : Aged; Frail Elderly; Cognition; Socioeconomic Factors; Health Maintenance Organizations; Cross-Sectional Studies.

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