WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 135-143

Prevalence and correlates of cognitive impairment in a north Indian elderly population

1 Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
2 Division of NCD, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Paramita Sengupta
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana 141008, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.206729

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Background: Cognitive impairment, an age-related condition, is often considered a precursor to more serious diseases such as depression/dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by cognitive impairment, could have a devastating impact on low- and middle-income countries whose populations are ageing rapidly. The disease has, so far, largely remained neglected by researchers and national health services in India. In view of the growing elderly population and diverse sociocultural and geographical milieu of India, epidemiological data for the condition are desirable for different populations. Moreover, there is a dearth of population-based epidemiological studies on cognitive impairment in the Punjab state of India. Methods: Three thousand and thirty-eight consenting elderly adults aged over 60 years, of both sexes, residing in Ludhiana, Punjab state, India were examined for cognitive functioning, using a modified Hindi Mental State Examination, and a score of ≤25 was considered to be indicative of cognitive impairment. Data analysis included calculations of proportions; odds ratio and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were also calculated. The chi-square test and multiple logistic regression model were used to determine the association of cognitive impairment with various sociodemographic parameters. Results: The prevalence of cognitive impairment in the study population was 8.8% (95% CI = 8.06 to 9.54). Increasing age, unmarried/widowed status, illiteracy, unemployment and poverty were found to be independently associated with cognitive impairment. Conclusions: The prevalence of cognitive impairment in this north Indian population of elderly individuals is higher than that found in northern India. With emerging focus on geriatric health services, cognitive impairment, which is a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease/dementias, needs to be included in priority care within the national primary health-care framework.

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