The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of alexithymia in an elderly Finnish population sample. Associations between alexithymia and sociodemographic factors were investigated, together with the relationship between alexithymia and perceived somatic health and self-reported psychic health. The study forms a part of the Turun Vanhustutkimus (TUR-VA) project, which is a longitudinal, prospective follow-up study dealing with psychosocial adaptation to retirement and to old age. The study group consisted of a population sample of 72-year-old people (N = 190). Alexithymia was measured with the 26-item version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-26). The prevalence of alexithymia was 34%. Alexithymia was associated with poor perceived somatic health. Alexithymia was associated with having a psychiatric disturbance (measured by the 36-item General Health Questionnaire [GHQ-36]), but this relationship disappeared when the influence of perceived somatic health was controlled for. Alexithymia was not associated with gender, marital status, social status, or residential area.
A community survey and subsequent clinical assessment of 192 Cree aged 65 years and over registered in two Reserves in Northern Manitoba identified only one case of probable Alzheimer's disease among eight cases of dementia, giving a prevalence of 0.5% for Alzheimer's disease and 4.2% for all dementias. This contrasted with an age-adjusted prevalence of 3.5% for Alzheimer's disease and 4.2% for all dementias in an age-stratified sample of 241 English-speaking residents of Winnipeg. Although it was not so for all dementias, the difference between the groups for prevalence of Alzheimer's disease was highly significant (p
Depression is associated with an increased risk of dementia. However, short follow-up times and lack of adjustment for familial factors in previous studies could influence this association. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the association between depression and subsequent dementia, while controlling for familial factors and with a follow-up of over 35 years.
Two cohorts were formed from all individuals aged 50 years or older living in Sweden as of 31 December 2005 (n = 3,341,010). The Swedish National Patient Register was searched from 1964 through 2016 to identify diagnosis of depression and dementia. In the first cohort, individuals diagnosed with depression (n = 119,386) were matched 1:1 with controls without depression diagnosis. The second cohort was a sibling cohort (n = 50,644) consisting of same-sex full sibling pairs with discordant depression status. In the population matched cohort study, a total of 9,802 individuals were diagnosed with dementia during a mean follow-up time of 10.41 (range 0-35) years (5.5% of those diagnosed with depression and 2.6% of those without depression diagnosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.47, 95% CI 2.35-2.58; p
There is evidence for long-lasting effects of birth characteristics on cognitive ability in childhood and adulthood. Further, low cognitive ability throughout the lifetime has been linked to age-related cognitive decline and dementia risk. However, little is known about the effects of birth characteristics on cognitive dysfunction late in life. Here we explore potential associations between birth characteristics (weight, head circumference, length, and gestational age), adjusted and not adjusted for gestational age, and cognitive impairment and dementia late in life.
Data from twins in the Swedish Twin Registry born 1926-1960 were merged with information from the Swedish birth, patient, and cause of death registries, resulting in a sample of 35,191 individuals. A subsample of 4,000 twins aged 65 years and older also participated in a telephone cognitive screening in 1998-2002. Associations of birth characteristics with registry-based dementia diagnoses and on telephone-assessed cognitive impairment were investigated in the full sample and subsample, respectively. The full sample contained 907 (2.6%) individuals with a dementia diagnosis (an incidence rate of 5.9% per 100,000 person-years), 803 (2.4%) individuals born small for gestational age, and 929 (2.8%) individuals born with a small head for gestational age. The subsample contained 569 (14.2%) individuals with cognitive impairment. Low birth weight for gestational age and being born with a small head for gestational age were significant risk factors for cognitive dysfunction late in life, with an up to 2-fold risk increase (p
To describe the prevalence of various psychiatric and behavioral symptoms among patients with dementia in nursing homes and acute geriatric wards and to investigate the administration of psychotropic medications to these patients.
425 consecutive patients (>70 years) in six acute geriatric wards in two city hospitals and seven nursing homes in Helsinki, Finland, were assessed with an extensive interview, cognitive tests, and attention tests. Of these, 255 were judged to have dementia according to the following information: previous dementia diagnoses and their adequacy, results of CT scans, Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE) tests, Clinical Dementia Scale (CDR) tests, and DSM-IV criteria. Psychiatric and behavioral symptoms were recorded over two weeks for each patient.
Psychiatric and behavioral symptoms were very common among patients with dementia in both settings. In all, 48% presented with psychotic symptoms (delusions, visual or auditory hallucinations, misidentifications or paranoid symptoms), 43% with depression, 26% agitation, and 26% apathy. Use of psychotropic drugs was also common: 87% were on at least one psychotropic drug, 66% took at least two, 36% at least three, and 11% four or more psychotropic drugs. Of the patients with dementia, 42% were on conventional antipsychotics, and 34% on anxiolytics despite their known side-effects. Only 13% were on atypical antipsychotics and 3% on cholinesterase inhibitors. The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was common (31%) among the patients. A surprising finding was that drugs with anticholinergic effects were also frequently (20%) used.
Both behavioural symptoms and use of psychotropic drugs are very common among dementia patients in institutional settings. The frequent use of potentially harmful drugs implies a need for education among physicians taking care of these patients.
In a cross-sectional epidemiological study in Lieto, Finland, 61 men and 21 women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were compared with age- and sex-matched controls from the same community to analyze the associations between COPD, cognitive performance, and occurrence of dementia. The cognitive assessment was based on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), previous clinical documents, and the assessment made by the research nurse after she had interviewed and tested each subject. These three measures revealed no differences between the COPD patients and the age-matched controls, and MMSE subtest scores did not differ significantly between the patients and controls. The findings suggest that the relative contribution of COPD to the occurrence of cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly may be none or minimal at the community level.
The population-based Helsinki Aging Study was comprised of three age groups: 75-, 80- and 85-year-olds. A random sample of 511 subjects completed the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and were assessed on the Clinical Dementia Rating-scale (CDR). According to the CDR results 446 subjects were screened as non-demented. Of these subjects 30% scored below or at 24 MMSE points. Age, education and social group had a significant effect on the MMSE scores, even after excluding the demented cases. Together they explained 10% of the total variance within the MMSE. Social group correlated with education. The MMSE scores were corrected according to age and education. Adjustment of the originally used cutpoint of 24 resulted in cutpoints of 25 and 26 among the 75-year-olds, in the low and high education groups respectively; 23 and 26 in the 80-year-olds; 22 and 23 in the 85-year-olds.
This article presents data on the prevalence of depression and the profile of depressive symptoms in 2 groups of people aged 65 and over: 1070 living in Liverpool, United Kingdom, and 1080 living in Zaragoza, Spain. Similar prevalence figures were found for women (Liverpool first); 14.2% vs 14.8% and, for men, 7.2% vs 6.2%. No age differences were found. The figures are lower than those found using similar methods in London and New York, but higher than those from Iceland. The article also compares the profile of depressive symptoms between Liverpool and Zaragoza and explains these by reference to social and cultural differences.
Rates of cognitive impairment in a representative population of the oldest old (aged 84 to 90) were examined using two indicators: The Global Deterioration Scale (GDS), and a Cognitive Rating (CR) derived from performance on five neuropsychological tests. Prevalence was estimated at 25.3%, using the GDS, and 30% with the CR. The overall degree of congruence between the measures was high, with most disagreements involving mildly impaired cases. The results indicate a high degree of convergence of clinical and neuropsychological indicators. The findings also confirm high rates of impairment among the oldest old.
Patients (n = 191) living in four comparable somatic nursing homes (NH) (nursing homes for physical illness) were studied in order to evaluate dementia syndromes. Dementia and symptoms of depressed mood occurred frequently (72% and 63%, respectively). Dementia was often undiagnosed at admittance. Neither the length of time spent in institutions, nor marital status, age, or sex seemed to be of more than minor importance to the prevalence of dementia syndromes. Concerning functional impairment, convergence of findings across the societies studied indicates that psychiatric symptoms and psychopathology are intrinsic parts of long-term care of the elderly.