Mini-Mental State Examination performance in frail, pre-frail, and non-frail community dwelling older adults in Ermelino Matarazzo, São Paulo, Brazil

Cláudia Rodrigues Monteiro Macuco, Samila Satler Tavares Batistoni, Andrea Lopes, Meire Cachioni, Deusivânia Vieira da Silva Falcão, Anita Liberalesso Neri, Mônica Sanches Yassuda
International Psychogeriatrics 2012, 24 (11): 1725-31

BACKGROUND: Frailty in older adults is a multifactorial syndrome defined by low metabolic reserve, less resistance to stressors, and difficulty in maintaining organic homeostasis due to cumulative decline of multiple physiological systems. The relationship between frailty and cognition remains unclear and studies about Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) performance and frailty are scarce. The objective was to examine the association between frailty and cognitive functioning as assessed by the MMSE and its subdomains.

METHODS: A cross-sectional population-based study (FIBRA) was carried out in Ermelino Matarazzo, a poor subdistrict of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were 384 community dwelling older adults, 65 years and older who completed the MMSE and a protocol to assess frailty criteria as described in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).

RESULTS: Frail older adults had significantly worse performance on the MMSE (p < 0.001 for total score). Linear regression analyses showed that the MMSE total score was influenced by age (p < 0.001), education (p < 0.001), family income (p < 0.001), and frailty status (p < 0.036). Being frail was associated more significantly with worse scores in Time Orientation (p < 0.004) and Immediate Memory (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that being frail is associated with worse cognitive performance, as assessed by the MMSE. It is recommended that the assessment of frail older adults should include the investigation of their cognitive status.

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