Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Subtle Nervous System Abnormalities Appear To Predict Risk Of Death In Older Individuals

Date:
June 24, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Subtle but clinically detectable neurological abnormalities, such as reduced reflexes and an unstable posture, may be associated with the risk of death and stroke in otherwise healthy older adults, according to a new report.

Subtle but clinically detectable neurological abnormalities, such as reduced reflexes and an unstable posture, may be associated with the risk of death and stroke in otherwise healthy older adults, according to a new report.

Previous research has linked subtle neurological abnormalities--which also include resting tremors and differences in hand strength--to poor physical function and to falls, according to background information in the article. In addition, other studies of apparently healthy older individuals have shown that those with subclinical diseases of different organs, such as subtle signs of heart trouble that have not yet led to a heart disease diagnosis, are more likely to become physically or mentally impaired.

Marco Inzitari, M.D., of the University of Florence, Italy, and colleagues studied 506 individuals (average age 72.5) who did not have neurological disease beginning in 1995. A neurological examination was administered then and again four years later. Deaths and cerebrovascular events, such as stroke, were tracked for an average of eight years.

At the beginning of the study, 59 percent of the participants had at least one subtle neurological abnormality, with an overall average of 1.1 per individual. After adjusting for age and sex, an increasing number of such abnormalities was associated with more severe disabilities, more symptoms of depression and declining cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) and functional status. Compared with individuals who had fewer than three subtle neurological abnormalities, those who had three or more subtle neurological abnormalities were more likely to die or experience a cerebrovascular event over eight years.

Based on these findings, "a simple neurological examination seems to be an additional prognosticator of hard outcomes, particularly death, above and beyond other measures used in clinical practice," which currently include other performance-based tests for cognitive and physical function and depressive symptoms, the authors write. "It is likely that the neurological examination might capture additional information about the integrity of the nervous system in apparently healthy older adults."

"Our data support the hypothesis that subtle neurological abnormalities in elderly individuals are a manifestation of early brain damage, a finding that may have important implications in research studies on the prevention of age-related cognitive and functional decline. Understanding the nature of dysfunctions underlying the decline in physical performance and disability contributes to planning specific preventive interventions," they conclude.

This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Scientific and Technological Research (National Special Project on Heart Failure), by the government of Tuscany and by the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi-Firenze, Italy.

Editorial: Findings Useful for Research, Clinical Practice

Combining the new findings with previous work about life expectancy, "a typical physician caring for a healthy older adult could use a simple routine neurological examination to provide his or her patients with valuable prognostic information," write Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H., and Michael D. Justiss, Ph.D., of the Regenstrief Institute Inc., Indianapolis, and colleagues in an accompanying editorial.

The scale could also be used to identify at-risk older adults and enroll them in research studies of interventions to prevent disability and eventually increase the active life expectancy of the aging population, Drs. Boustani and Justiss note.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marco Inzitari; Claudia Pozzi; Luigi Ferrucci; Daniela Chiarantini; Lucio A. Rinaldi; Marco Baccini; Riccardo Pini; Giulio Masotti; Niccolo Marchionni; Mauro Di Bari. Subtle Neurological Abnormalities as Risk Factors for Cognitive and Functional Decline, Cerebrovascular Events, and Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults. Arch Intern Med., 2008;168(12):1270-1276 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Subtle Nervous System Abnormalities Appear To Predict Risk Of Death In Older Individuals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623175429.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, June 24). Subtle Nervous System Abnormalities Appear To Predict Risk Of Death In Older Individuals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623175429.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Subtle Nervous System Abnormalities Appear To Predict Risk Of Death In Older Individuals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080623175429.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Obesity Rates Steady Even As Americans' Waistlines Expand

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Researchers are puzzled as to why obesity rates remain relatively stable as average waistlines continue to expand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins