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Dementia. 1995 Jan-Feb;6(1):39-48.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and associated patterns of memory decline.

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Department of Psychiatric Science and Psychological Medicine, University of Rome, La Sapienza, Italy.


The relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cognitive functioning was analyzed in a study with 50 aging patients. A complex pattern of interactions was identified between emotional and cognitive functioning and chronic respiratory disease when the effects of age, sex, type and severity of disease were controlled. These patients did not show any global and diffuse cognitive impairment. Only a portion of COPD patients (about 30%) evidenced memory impairment which was confined to immediate memory. Memory impairment found in these patients did not appear to be associated with those changes present in the aging process but was mainly related to those specific clinical and instrumental parameters which are considered valid indicators of respiratory efficiency. Two types of cognitive and emotional problems were identified. A progressive stage-dependent set of characteristics was associated with the course of the disease and a fluctuating, probably reversible state-dependent set of characteristics was associated with the temporary condition of the patients during the period of examination. Patients who had received more recent medical treatment or who were under protection of vaccination for influenza showed a better cognitive and emotional efficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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