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In sub-Saharan Africa, there are no validated screening tools for delirium in older adults, despite the known vulnerability of older people to delirium and the associated adverse outcomes. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a brief smartphone-based assessment of arousal and attention (DelApp) in the identification of delirium amongst older adults admitted to the medical department of a tertiary referral hospital in Northern Tanzania.
Consecutive admissions were screened using the DelApp during a larger study of delirium prevalence and risk factors. All participants subsequently underwent detailed clinical assessment for delirium by a research doctor. Delirium and dementia were identified against DSM-5 criteria by consensus.
Complete data for 66 individuals were collected of whom 15 (22.7%) had delirium, 24.5% had dementia without delirium, and 10.6% had delirium superimposed on dementia. Sensitivity and specificity of the DelApp for delirium were 0.87 and 0.62, respectively (AUROC 0.77) and 0.88 and 0.73 (AUROC 0.85) for major cognitive impairment (dementia and delirium combined). Lower DelApp score was associated with age, significant visual impairment (<6/60 acuity), illness severity, reduced arousal and DSM-5 delirium on univariable analysis, but on multivariable logistic regression only arousal remained significant.
In this setting, the DelApp performed well in identifying delirium and major cognitive impairment but did not differentiate delirium and dementia. Performance is likely to have been affected by confounders including uncorrected visual impairment and reduced level of arousal without delirium. Negative predictive value was nevertheless high, indicating excellent ‘rule out’ value in this setting.
HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) are prevalent in older people living with HIV (PLWH) worldwide. HAND prevalence and incidence studies of the newly emergent population of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated older PLWH in sub-Saharan Africa are currently lacking. We aimed to estimate HAND prevalence and incidence using robust measures in stable, cART-treated older adults under long-term follow-up in Tanzania and report cognitive comorbidities.
A systematic sample of consenting HIV-positive adults aged ≥50 years attending routine clinical care at an HIV Care and Treatment Centre during March–May 2016 and followed up March–May 2017.
HAND by consensus panel Frascati criteria based on detailed locally normed low-literacy neuropsychological battery, structured neuropsychiatric clinical assessment, and collateral history. Demographic and etiological factors by self-report and clinical records.
In this cohort (n = 253, 72.3% female, median age 57), HAND prevalence was 47.0% (95% CI 40.9–53.2, n = 119) despite well-managed HIV disease (Mn CD4 516 (98-1719), 95.5% on cART). Of these, 64 (25.3%) were asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment, 46 (18.2%) mild neurocognitive disorder, and 9 (3.6%) HIV-associated dementia. One-year incidence was high (37.2%, 95% CI 25.9 to 51.8), but some reversibility (17.6%, 95% CI 10.0–28.6 n = 16) was observed.
HAND appear highly prevalent in older PLWH in this setting, where demographic profile differs markedly to high-income cohorts, and comorbidities are frequent. Incidence and reversibility also appear high. Future studies should focus on etiologies and potentially reversible factors in this setting.
In an extended twin study we estimated the heritability of fasting HbA1c and blood glucose levels. Blood glucose was assessed in different settings (at home and in the clinic). We tested whether the genetic factors influencing fasting blood glucose levels overlapped with those influencing HbA1c and whether the same genetic factors were expressed across different settings. Fasting blood glucose was measured at home and during two visits to the clinic in 77 healthy families with same-sex twins and siblings, aged 20 to 45 years. HbA1c was measured during the first clinic visit. A 4-variate genetic structural equation model was used that estimated the heritability of each trait and the genetic correlations among traits. Heritability explained 75% of the variance in HbA1c. The heritability of fasting blood glucose was estimated at 66% at home and lower in the clinic (57% and 38%). Fasting blood glucose levels were significantly correlated across settings (0.34 < r < 0.54), mostly due to a common set of genes that explained between 53% and 95% of these correlations. Correlations between HbA1c and fasting blood glucoses were low (0.11 < r < 0.23) and genetic factors influencing HbA1c and fasting glucose were uncorrelated. These results suggest that in healthy adults the genes influencing HbA1c and fasting blood glucose reflect different aspects of the glucose metabolism. As a consequence these two glycemic parameters can not be used interchangeably in diagnostic procedures or in studies attempting to find genes for diabetes. Both contribute unique (genetic) information.
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