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J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2017 Mar 3. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000135. [Epub ahead of print]

Risk Factors for Falls in Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer Disease.

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1
1Department of Physical Therapy, Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil. 2Department of Medicine, Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Understanding fall risk factors in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD) can help to establish specific plans for prevention of falls. The purpose of this study was to identify fall risk factors in older adults with MCI and mild AD.

METHODS:

A prospective study was conducted with community-dwelling older adults (40 MCI; 38 mild AD). The assessments consisted of sociodemographic and health variables, caloric expenditure, functional status, functional mobility (10-m walk test, dual-task test, and transition Timed Up and Go phases), cognitive domains, and depressive symptoms. Falls were recorded for 6 months by a falls calendar and monthly telephone calls.

RESULTS:

Falls were reported in 52.6% and 51.4% of people with MCI and mild AD, respectively. Among people with MCI, lower functional status, higher time spent on walk and dual task tests, and higher depressive symptom scores were associated with falls. Higher time spent on the dual-task test was independently associated with falls. Among people with mild AD, falls were associated with lower time spent on the walk test and turn-to-sit phase, and a higher visuospatial domain score. Lower time spent on the turn-to-sit phase was identified as an independent predictor of falls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Careful attention should be given to dual-task and turn-to-sit activities when detecting risk of falls among older people with MCI and mild AD.

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