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Age Ageing. 2008 Jan;37(1):83-9. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

Demented versus non-demented very old inpatients: the same comorbidities but poorer functional and nutritional status.

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Geneva University, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics Department, 3, chemin du Pont-Bochet, CH-1226, Thônex, Switzerland.



demented patients have been reported to be healthier than other old people of the same age.


to assess comorbid conditions, functional and nutritional status in medically ill hospitalised patients with normal cognition or affected by dementia of various causes and severities, or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).


a prospective study was carried out, between January and December 2004, in the Rehabilitation and Geriatric Hospital (HOGER).


activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and mini nutritional assessment (MNA) scores were assessed as a function of the status of the patient two weeks before admission to hospital. On admission, cognitive status was assessed by a systematic battery of neuropsychological tests, comorbid conditions were assessed with the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), and body mass index (BMI) and functional independence measure (FIM) were determined. BMI and FIM were also determined on discharge.


we studied 349 patients (mean age 85.2 +/- 6.7; 76% women): 161 (46.1%) cognitively normal, 37 (10.6%) with MCI and 151 (43.3%) demented (61 Alzheimer's disease (AD), 62 mixed dementia (MD) and 17 vascular dementia (VaD)). ADL, IADL, FIM and MNA scores on admission decreased with cognitive status, regardless of the type of dementia. Functionality at discharge remained significantly lower in demented patients than in other patients. CCI was high and similar in all three groups (mean 4.6 +/- 2.7). Patients with VaD had poorer health than other demented patients, with a higher average comorbidity score, more frequent hypertension, stroke and hyperlipidaemia. Comorbidity did not increase with severity levels of dementia.


in this cohort of very old inpatients, demented patients, non-demented patients and patients with MCI had similar levels of comorbidity, but demented patients had a poorer functional and nutritional status.

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