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The use of Alzheimer disease medication for the treatment of dementia symptoms has shown significant benefits with regards to functional and cognitive outcomes as well as nursing home placement (NHP) and mortality. Hospitalisations in these patient groups are characterised by extended length of stays (LOS), frequent readmissions, frequent NHP and high-mortality rates. The impact of Alzheimer disease medication on the aforementioned outcomes remains still unknown. This study assessed the association of Alzheimer disease medication with outcomes of hospitalisation among patients with Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia.
A dynamic retrospective cohort study from 2004 to 2015 was conducted which claims data from a German health insurance company. People with dementia (PWD) were identified using ICD-10 codes and diagnostic measures. The main predictor of interest was the use of Alzheimer disease medication. Hospitalisation outcomes included LOS, readmissions, NHP and mortality during and after hospitalisation across four hospitalisations. Confounding was addressed using a propensity score throughout all analyses.
A total of 1380 users of Alzheimer disease medication and 6730 non-users were identified. The use of Alzheimer disease medication was associated with significantly shorter LOS during the first hospitalisations with estimates for the second, third and fourth showed a tendency towards shorter hospital stays. In addition, current users of Alzheimer disease medication had a lower risk of hospital readmission after the first two hospitalisations. These associations were not significant for the third and fourth hospitalisations. Post-hospitalisation NHP and mortality rates also tended to be lower among current users than among non-users but differences did not reach statistical significance.
Our results indicate that Alzheimer disease medication might contribute to a reduction of the LOS and the number of readmissions in PWD.
It remains unclear so far whether the role of cognitive reserve may differ between physically frail compared to less frail individuals. Therefore, the present study set out to investigate the relation of key markers of cognitive reserve to cognitive status in old age and its interplay with physical frailty in a large sample of older adults.
We assessed Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in 701 older adults. We measured grip strength as indicator of physical frailty and interviewed individuals on their education, past occupation, and cognitive leisure activity.
Greater grip strength, longer education, higher cognitive level of job, and greater engaging in cognitive leisure activity were significantly related to higher MMSE scores. Moderation analyses showed that the relations of education, cognitive level of job, and cognitive leisure activity to MMSE scores were significantly larger in individuals with lower, compared to those with greater grip strength.
Cognitive status in old age may more strongly depend on cognitive reserve accumulated during the life course in physically frail (compared to less frail) older adults. These findings may be explained by cross-domain compensation effects in vulnerable individuals.