M. Gallucci a,e, P. Antuono b, F. Ongaro c , P.L. Forloni
d, D. Albani d, G.P. Amici a,e, C. Regini a
a ARGEI, Interdisciplinary Geriatric Research
Association, Treviso, Italy; b The Medical College of Wisconsin,
Milwaukee, USA; c Department of Statistics, University of
Padova, Italy; d Department of Neuroscience, Mario Negri Institute
for Pharmacological Research, Milano, Italy; e General Hospital,
Purpose of research: The aim of this study was to
examine correlations between physical activity, socialization,
reading and cognitive decline in a sample of 668 elderly people
over the age of 70, living in Treviso, a typical town in north-east
of Italy. This study is part of the "TREVISO LONGEVA"
Targeted Health Research Project, supported by the Veneto
Region and other bodies, realized by ARGeI, that has collected
biological, medical, social, economic, demographic and quality
of life data.
Materials and methods: The population over the age
of seventy living in the municipality of Treviso was divided
according to sex and age into eight groups (with four age
groups: 70-79, 80-89, 90-99, 100 and over) within which a
predetermined number of individuals was extracted, 250, 200,
200 persons respectively, half male and half female and all
those aged 100 and over. Systematic sampling within each of
the 6 layers related to the population under 100 years of
age. The sample, involving a total of 668 people, was then
weighted with reference to the population distribution. Data
were collected through an interview and a blood sample, both
performed at home. Cognitive decline was assessed using the
MMSE. With regard to physical activity, the questionnaire
asked if the elderly took walks and/or did gardening every
day. Socialization was examined by asking if intervieweds
regularly visited friends (a) or recreation and/social centres
(b) and if they were involved in socially useful activities
(c) or voluntary work (d). As far as cultural activities were
concerned, the elderly were asked if they read and what they
read (newspapers, novels, non-fiction). In the population
examined, we assessed comorbidity by considering the 19 most
prognostically significant diseases according to the ICD-9
classification by calculating the two comorbidity prognostic
indices, DCI (Disease Count Index, a simple sum of present
diseases) and CCI (Charlson Comorbidity Index, a weighted
sum of present diseases and age).
Results: Sample mean age is 84.1±8.1 years,
53.4% female, mean MMSE score is 23.7±6.8. The 179
subjects who practice both physical activity types (walking
and gardening) show a MMSE score of 26.7±3.1 while
the 336 subjects who practice only one of the two physical
activity types show a MMSE score of 26.3 ± 3.9 and
the 153 subjects who do not practice any physical activity
show a MMSE score of 21.4±6.9 (ANOVA p<0.0001).
The 91 subjects who practice more than one of the described
socializing activities (a, b, c, d) show a MMSE score of 27.0±2.7
while the 249 subjects who practice only one of the described
socializing activities show a MMSE score of 26.6±3.5
and the 328 subjects who do not practice any socializing activitiy
show a MMSE score of 23.7±6.2 (ANOVA p<0.0001).
Moreover, 172 subjects read novels and non-fiction (MMSE 27.3±2.5),
356 subjects read only newspapers (MMSE 26.0±3.9),
and 140 subjects do not read at all (MMSE 21.0±7.3).
There are significant cognitive differences between all the
three categories (ANOVA p<0.0001, multiple comparisons
Tukey-Kramer p<0.05). Applying a multiple regression model,
comorbidity as CCI (p<0.0001), physical activity (p<0.0001),
reading (p<0.0001), hearing function (p<0.0001) and
socializing activities (p<0.02) show a strong correlation
with cognitive function (whole model Rsq. 0.369, F ratio 50.1,
p<0.0001). Using DCI for considering comorbidity the multivariate
analysis model show similar results.
Conclusions: Physical activity, socialization and
reading are associated to a better cognitive performance.
It can be hypothesized that these factors can concur to cognitive
decline prevention in elderly people.
Comunicazione presentata dagli Autori al
3° Congresso Nazionale FIMeG (Roma 23-25 giugno 2008 ).
Atti Congressuali pubblicati dalla Casa Editrice Scientifica
Internazionale (C.E.S.I. 2008,),via Cremona, 19 -
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