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Frailty Phenotype and Neuropsychological Test Performance: A Preliminary Analysis

Terrie B. Ginsberg, DO; Leonard Powell, DO; Arif Patel, MS; Sheina Emrani, BS; Anita Chopra, MD; Thomas Cavalieri, DO; and David J. Libon, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 12, 2017

Accepted: July 13, 2017

Published: November 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(11): 683-687

Context: Frailty is a common problem that affects adults older than 65 years. Correlations between the frailty phenotype and neuropsychological impairment have not been thoroughly researched.

Objectives: To examine the association between frailty phenotype, neuropsychological screening test results, and neuropsychological domains known to characterize patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Methods: This retrospective medical record analysis consisted of ambulatory patients aged 65 years or older seen in an outpatient geriatric practice. All patients were assessed with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). A portion of those patients also underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation that assessed executive control, naming/lexical access, and declarative memory expressed as 3 neuropsychological index scores. Frailty phenotype was determined using criteria by Fried et al.

Results: Simple correlation found that lower MoCA test scores were associated with a higher level of frailty (r=−0.34, P<.032). Regression analyses found that greater frailty was associated with worse performance on tests that assessed executive control and working memory (backward digit span; r2=0.267; β=−0.517; P<.011) and delayed recognition memory (r2=0.207; β=−0.455; P<.025).

Conclusions: A correlation was found between frailty and neuropsychological impairment, which suggests that frailty may be a potential indicator for the emergence of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

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