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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2009 Dec;9(4):333-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2009.00548.x.

Comprehensive geriatric assessment of elderly highlanders in Qinghai, China I: activities of daily living, quality of life and metabolic syndrome.

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Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.



To reveal the comparison of comprehensive geriatric functions of elderly highlanders in Qinghai Plateau in China among three different ethnic groups.


Activities of daily living (ADL), screening-based depression, quality of life (QOL) and checking-up of metabolic syndrome including community-based oral glucose tolerance test were assessed in 393 community-dwelling elderly subjects aged 60 years or more (247 Han elderly subjects, 49 Mongolian ones and 97 Tibetan ones).


Tibetan elderly highlanders were more disabled in ADL, but had higher QOL than Han elderly ones in Qinghai Plateau. Blood pressure measurements, rate of hypertension and hemoglobin concentrations in Tibetan elderly highlanders were lower than Han ones. Rates of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in elderly highlanders were relatively lower than other Asian elderly lowlanders.


Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in elderly highlanders in Qinghai was still not high, however, we should pay attention to its tendency related with socialglobalism in the near future. Further investigation on physiological adaptability to hypoxic environment and human ageing phenomena in a global context may open a new research frontier for ageing science.

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