Daily Activities Impacted by Cognitive Impairment

Poor memory and processing speed in cognitive impairment tied to mild daily activity deficits

WEDNESDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Mild deficits in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are common in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Patrick J. Brown, Ph.D., from the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, and colleagues investigated the number, type, and severity of functional impairments in 394 patients with aMCI, 193 with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD), and 229 controls. Baseline data were collected from the AD Neuroimaging Initiative. Cognitive function was assessed by the 10-item Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ), and the clinical characteristics associated with functional impairment were assessed.

The investigators found that FAQ deficits were commonly reported by patients with AD (97.4 percent) and aMCI (72.3 percent), but rarely by controls (7.9 percent). Controls and those with aMCI had similar average severity per FAQ deficit, which was significantly less than in the AD group. The control group was differentiated from the combined aMCI and AD groups in two FAQ items (remembering appointments, dates, and medications, and assembling affairs and papers). FAQ deficit severity was significantly correlated with decreased processing speed and smaller hipppocampal volume in the combined group. Within the aMCI group, individuals with moderate or severe FAQ deficits showed impaired memory and processing speed and greater hippocampal atrophy, compared to functionally intact individuals. Apolipoprotein ε4 allele expression was more likely with high FAQ deficits than with few or no FAQ deficits.

"In patients with aMCI, impairment in memory and processing speed and greater medial temporal atrophy were associated with greater IADL deficits," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry. The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is funded by the pharmaceutical industry.

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