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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cognitive status and future risk of frailty in older Mexican Americans

Mukaila A Raji, Soham Al Snih, Glenn V Ostir, Kyriakos S Markides, Kenneth J Ottenbacher
Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2010, 65 (11): 1228-34
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BACKGROUND: Because cognitive impairment and frailty share common risk factors (eg, high proinflammatory cytokines), we examined whether poor cognition predicts subsequent risk of frailty in initially nonfrail Mexican Americans aged 67 years and older.

METHODS: Frailty was defined as meeting one or more of the following components: (a) unintentional weight loss of >10 pounds, (b) weakness, (c) self-reported exhaustion, and (d) slow walking speed. Sociodemographic factors, Mini-Mental State Examination, medical conditions (stroke, heart attack, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and hypertension), and depressive symptoms were obtained. Main outcome measure was risk of becoming frail over 10 years.

RESULTS: Out of 942 participants who were nonfrail at baseline (1995-1996), 57.8% were women and the mean age was 73.7 years (SD = 5.3). In general estimation equation models testing the relationship between Mini-Mental State Examination (<21 vs. ≥21) and the risk of becoming frail over a 10-year period, there was a significant association (odds ratio = 1.09, 95% confidence interval = 1.00-1.19; p = .0310)] between the cognition-by-time interaction and odds of becoming prefrail or frail over time. This association was independent of age, sex, marital status, education, time, and medical conditions, indicating that nonfrail participants with poor cognition had a 9% odds per year of becoming frail over time compared with those with good cognition.

CONCLUSION: Low Mini-Mental State Examination score was independently associated with increased risk of frailty over a 10-year period in older Mexican Americans. Low Mini-Mental State Examination score may be an early marker for future risk of frailty.

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