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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 171-176

Prevalence of cognitive impairment and related factors among elderly: A population-based study

1 Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Deepak Sharma
School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2277-8632.117182

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Background: Older persons are at a risk of developing cognitive impairment, which is often considered a precursor to more serious conditions, such as dementia, depression or even Alzheimer's disease. Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), a cognitive screening tests rated on a 30-point scale is most widely used to study cognitive measures. Aims and Objectives: The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence of cognitive impairment among older adults, to describe the pattern of cognitive impairment in rural and urban elderly population and to investigate the influence of socio-demographic and other variables on it. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out between January 2010 and July 2010, in urban and rural areas of Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Four hundred elderly people were included in the study. Cognitive levels were assessed with the MMSE scale (cut-off score 23). Data were analysed with SPSS 17.0 software for windows. Results: The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 3.5%. It was higher in rural (2.3%) than in urban population (1.3%), with a rural/urban prevalence ratio (PR) of 1.8 (95%CI 0.6-5.7). In the logistic regression model, old-old, illiterate and widowed showed a higher probability of cognitive impairment. It was not associated with use of alcohol, cigarette smoking or under nutrition. Conclusion: Knowing the prevalence rate of cognitive impairment in elderly, together with the associated factors may inform policy makers and aid in designing better geriatric friendly health services. When planning elderly health services priority should be given to the elderly who are old-old, widowed and those who are illiterate.

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