Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Illnesses, injuries greatly increase chances of older adults developing new or worsening disability

Date:
November 6, 2010
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
In a study examining the factors that play a role in an older adult's transition to disability, intervening illnesses and injuries that led to hospitalization or activity restriction were associated with worsening functional ability, especially among those who were physically frail.

In a study examining the factors that play a role in an older adult's transition to disability, intervening illnesses and injuries that led to hospitalization or activity restriction were associated with worsening functional ability, especially among those who were physically frail, according to a report in the November 3 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on aging.

Related Articles


Thomas M. Gill, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing at the National Press Club.

Among older persons, disability in essential activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and walking, is common and associated with an increased rate of death, institutionalization, and greater use of formal and informal home services. However, many older persons also recover from disabilities. "Disability among older persons is a complex and highly dynamic process with high rates of recovery and frequent transitions between states of disability. The role of intervening illnesses and injuries (i.e., events) on these transitions is uncertain," according to background information in the article.

Dr. Gill and colleagues conducted a study to evaluate the association of intervening events with transitions between states of no disability, mild disability, severe disability, and death, and to determine the association of physical frailty with these transitions. The study, conducted from March 1998 to December 2008, included 754 community-living persons ages 70 years or older who were nondisabled at the beginning of the study in 4 essential activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, walking, and getting out of a chair. Of these participants, 117 (15.5 percent) remained nondisabled and alive through the end of follow-up and therefore made no transitions during a median (midpoint) follow-up of about 10 years.

Telephone interviews were completed monthly for more than 10 years to assess disability and to determine exposure to intervening events, which included illnesses and injuries leading to either hospitalization or restricted activity. Participants were assessed for physical frailty (with a rapid gait test) every 18 months, through 9 years. The primary outcomes measured included transitions between no disability, mild disability, and severe disability and 3 transitions from each of these states to death, evaluated each month.

The researchers found that among the 637 participants who had at least 1 functional transition, 578 (90.7 percent) had at least 1 hospital admission and 601 (94.3 percent) had at least 1 month of restricted activity during a median follow-up of 8.5 years. Hospitalization was associated with disability for 8 of the 9 transitions (the ninth being severe disability to no disability). "Restricted activity increased the likelihood of transitioning from no disability to both mild and severe disability, respectively, and from mild disability to severe disability, but was not associated with recovery from mild or severe disability," the authors write. Overall, the association of hospitalization with the disability transitions was much more pronounced than the association of restricted activity with disability transitions.

The researchers add that regardless of intervening event, the absolute risk of transitions to new or worsening disability or death was consistently higher in participants with frailty, while transitions representing functional recovery were consistently more likely in those who were not frail. "For example, the absolute risk of transitioning from no disability to mild disability within 1 month after hospitalization for frail individuals was 34.9 percent vs. 4.9 percent for non-frail individuals."

Among the possible reasons for hospitalization or restricted activity, fall-related injury conferred the highest likelihood of developing new or worsening disability.

"Despite the reductions observed in the prevalence of disability over the past 2 decades, the absolute number of disabled older Americans could increase substantially in the coming years with the aging of the baby boom generation. To obviate this increase, more aggressive efforts will be needed to prevent and manage intervening illnesses and injuries, given their apparent role in precipitating and perpetuating the disabling process," the authors conclude.


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. T. M. Gill, H. G. Allore, E. A. Gahbauer, T. E. Murphy. Change in Disability After Hospitalization or Restricted Activity in Older Persons. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 304 (17): 1919 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1568

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Illnesses, injuries greatly increase chances of older adults developing new or worsening disability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102101617.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2010, November 6). Illnesses, injuries greatly increase chances of older adults developing new or worsening disability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102101617.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Illnesses, injuries greatly increase chances of older adults developing new or worsening disability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102101617.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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