Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Life Space Correlates with Decline in Cognition

“These finding provide initial evidence that a constricted life space may be an early indicator of increased risk of AD in older adults."

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

In a paper published in the November 2011 edition of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Bryan D. James et al studied how closely the size of the environment encountered daily by senior citizens in Chicago correlated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and/or Mild Cognitive Impairment.

The seniors lived in varied environments, including retirement communities, church housing, and senior subsidized housing. A total of 1,294 seniors were included in the study. None of these seniors showed any signs of dementia at the onset of the study. The study was controlled for age, sex, race, and education.

4.4 years later, 180 seniors had developed Alzheimer’s disease. People whose movement had been constricted to their home were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with the largest life space, those who moved around freely, even out-of-town. This difference existed even when physical functions, disabilities, depression, and vascular disease were taken into account.

A decreased life space also correlated with an increased risk of MCI.

It is clear and consistent that the more isolated a person is, the more likely to experience cognitive decline. Apparently, a limitation in physical life space is related to cognitive decline, in spite of the individual’s social network size.

The authors of this study conclude that “These finding provide initial evidence that a constricted life space may be an early indicator of increased risk of AD in older adults."

More results of this study can be read here.

Also see -- Constricted "Life Space" Linked With Alzheimer's Disease.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room