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Life expectancy has increased leading to a concomitant increase in the population of older people. Malnutrition, a major problem in this age group, deteriorates their health and quality of life. The association between risk of malnutrition and dietary intake has not been investigated sufficiently. The aim of this study was to examine potential associations between risk of malnutrition and dietary intake in a representative cohort of adults ≥ 65 years old.
Materials and methods
1,831 older people (mean age 73.1 ± 5.9 years old) from the HELIAD study were included in the analyses. Risk of malnutrition was assessed with the “Determine your Nutritional Health” checklist. Total score of the questionnaire ranges from 1–21, with 0–2 indicating good nutritional status, 3–5 moderate nutritional risk and ≥ 6 high nutritional risk. Dietary intake was evaluated with a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, validated for the Greek population, from which consumption of specific food groups (non-refined cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, alcohol and sweets in servings/day) was estimated, as well as adherence to the Mediterranean diet, using a relevant a priori score.
35.8% of the participants were well-nourished, 34.8% were at moderate nutritional risk and 29.4% were at high nutritional risk. Total energy intake did not differ between the groups (1,984 ± 500 kcal/day for those well-nourished, 1,995 ± 537 kcal/day for those at moderate nutritional risk and 1,934 ± 566 kcal/day for those at high nutritional risk, p = 0.140). Well-nourished older people consumed per day more portions of vegetables, fruits, legumes, poultry, sweets and fewer portions of alcohol compared to those at moderate and high risk (all p < 0.05). Furthermore, adherence to the Mediterranean diet differed significantly between the groups, i.e. those well-nourished had greater adherence to the Mediterranean Diet compared to the other groups (p < 0.001).
Although energy intake did not differ between the groups, there were significant differences in quality of their diet, as this was depicted in specific food group intake and adherence to a healthy dietary pattern. Thus, health experts should also consider diet quality when screening malnutrition in this vulnerable age group.
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) have been operationalized as exhibiting a greater level of complexity than basic ADL. In the same way, incorporating more advanced ADLs may increase the sensitivity of functional measures to identify cognitive changes that may precede IADL impairment. Towards this direction, the IADL-extended scale (IADL-x) consists of four IADL tasks and five advanced ADLs (leisure time activities).
Retrospective, cross-sectional study.
Athens and Larissa, Greece.
1,864 community-dwelling men and women aged over 64.
We employed both the IADL-x and IADL scales to assess functional status among all the participants. Diagnoses were assigned dividing the population of our study into three groups: cognitively normal (CN), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia patients. Neuropsychological evaluation was stratified in five cognitive domains: memory, language, attention-speed, executive functioning and visuospatial perception. Z scores for each cognitive domain as well as a composite z score were constructed. Models were controlled for age, sex, education and depression.
In both IADL-x and IADL scales dementia patients reported the most functional difficulties and CN participants the fewest, with MCI placed in between. When we restricted the analyses to the CN population, lower IADL-x score was associated with worse cognitive performance. This association was not observed when using the original IADL scale.
There is strong evidence that the endorsement of more advanced IADLs in functional scales may be useful in detecting cognitive differences within the normal spectrum.
The present study aimed to explore the associations between social life and adherence to a healthy dietary pattern, the Mediterranean diet (MD), in a population-representative cohort of older people.
Cross-sectional study. Adherence to the MD was evaluated by an a priori score; tertiles of the score, indicating low, medium and high adherence, were used in the analyses. Social life was assessed by a questionnaire evaluating participation in leisure-time activities and the number of social contacts; primary occupation was also recorded and job characteristics were further explored.
Community-dwelling older adults.
Adults from the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet (HELIAD) study (n 1933; age range 65–99 years).
Each unit increase in the number of social contacts/month and in the frequency score of intellectual, social and physical activities was associated with a 1·6, 6·8, 4·8 and 13·7 % increase in the likelihood of a participant being in the high MD adherence group, respectively. The analysis by age group revealed that younger elderly participants had a 1·4, 8·4 and 11·3 % higher likelihood to be in the high adherence group for each unit increase in the number of social contacts/month and in the frequency score of engagement in intellectual and physical activities, respectively. Similar associations were found for older elderly participants with high compared with low MD adherence, except for the intellectual activities.
The present results suggest that high MD adherence is associated with good social life, suggesting a clustering of health-promoting lifestyle factors in older adults.
To investigate whether amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) identified with visual memory tests conveys an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (risk-AD) and if the risk-AD differs from that associated with aMCI based on verbal memory tests.
4,771 participants aged 70.76 (SD = 6.74, 45.4% females) from five community-based studies, each a member of the international COSMIC consortium and from a different country, were classified as having normal cognition (NC) or one of visual, verbal, or combined (visual and verbal) aMCI using international criteria and followed for an average of 2.48 years. Hazard ratios (HR) and individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis analyzed the risk-AD with age, sex, education, single/multiple domain aMCI, and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores as covariates.
All aMCI groups (n = 760) had a greater risk-AD than NC (n = 4,011; HR range = 3.66 – 9.25). The risk-AD was not different between visual (n = 208, 17 converters) and verbal aMCI (n = 449, 29 converters, HR = 1.70, 95%CI: 0.88, 3.27, p = 0.111). Combined aMCI (n = 103, 12 converters, HR = 2.34, 95%CI: 1.13, 4.84, p = 0.023) had a higher risk-AD than verbal aMCI. Age and MMSE scores were related to the risk-AD. The IPD meta-analyses replicated these results, though with slightly lower HR estimates (HR range = 3.68, 7.43) for aMCI vs. NC.
Although verbal aMCI was most common, a significant proportion of participants had visual-only or combined visual and verbal aMCI. Compared with verbal aMCI, the risk-AD was the same for visual aMCI and higher for combined aMCI. Our results highlight the importance of including both verbal and visual memory tests in neuropsychological assessments to more reliably identify aMCI.
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