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Exam of Older Adults Predict Quality of Life

stethescopeFor most, living longer is not as important as maintaining a high quality of life.

New research suggests a routine examination of an older adult’s neurological system is a good predictor of future brain health and quality of life.

The neurological exams should become part of the physician’s routine examination of older adults say faculty from the Indiana University Center for Aging Research in an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The editorial accompanies a study by Italian researchers who used data obtained from standardized neurological exams to devise a simple scale measuring the total number of subtle neurological abnormalities found among disability-free older adults.

The Italian study found that a higher number of subtle neurological abnormalities in patients without cognitive impairment at baseline predicted both cognitive and functional declines.

“The Italian study confirms that looking at subtle neurological abnormalities in healthy older adults gives the doctor an insight into factors that contribute to impairment of functional cognition which lead to disability and poor quality of life,” said editorial co-author Malaz Boustani, M.D., M.P.H, an assistant professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

“Until now we haven’t had proof of value of the standard neurological exam. We now know that the test is a good value for older adults and could even be used as a “cheap biomarker” of future cognitive decline because it appears to have predictive value similar to biomarkers,” said Dr. Boustani.

More than 12 percent of the U.S. population is aged 65 and older. This percentage will increase to 20 percent by 2030.

Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 72 seconds, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The average primary care physician, the doctors who see most older adults, sees 2,000 patients per year of whom 300 are aged 65 or older. Of these 24 will develop dementia.

Source: Indiana University

Exam of Older Adults Predict Quality of Life

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Exam of Older Adults Predict Quality of Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/06/24/exam-of-older-adults-predict-quality-of-life/2491.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.