Even mild cognitive impairment can significantly increase the risk for death, scientists say.
According to a new, long-term study from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University researchers, cognitive impairment, especially at the moderate to severe stages has an impact on life expectancy similar to chronic conditions such as diabetes or chronic heart failure.
Nearly 4,000 people between the ages of 60 to 102 years, participated in the study. The patients were followed for 13 years.
“We found that even mild cognitive impairment, as determined by a simple screening tool in a primary care physician”s office, has a strong impact on how long individuals survive on the same order as other chronic diseases,” said Regenstrief investigator Greg A. Sachs, M.D., professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
The study followed 3,957 patients. At screening, 3,157 had no cognitive impairment, 533 had mild impairment, and 267 had moderate to severe impairment. During follow-up, 57 percent of patients with no impairment died, compared with 68 percent of those with mild impairment and 79 percent of those with moderate to severe impairment.
Median survival time was 138 months for patients with no impairment, 106 months for those with mild impairment, and 63 months for those with moderate to severe impairment.
The study was recently published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.