Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Severe COPD Linked to Mental Decline - Doctors need to recognize challenges these patients face, researchers say

Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease appears linked to lower cognitive function in older adults, making it more difficult for them to remember and perform daily tasks, a new study finds.

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City analyzed national data on 4,150 Americans aged 50 and older, including 492 with COPD. Of those, 153 had severe COPD. On a 35-point cognition scale, scores among all COPD patients declined an average of one-point between 1996 and 2002. Further analysis showed that patients with severe COPD had significantly lower scores than those without COPD.

"Our findings should raise awareness that adults with severe COPD are at greater risk for developing cognitive impairment, which may make managing their COPD more challenging, and will likely further worsen their general health and quality of life," study author Dr. William W. Hung said in a news release.

The results suggest that patients with severe COPD have a 22 percent increase in the difficulty they experience with daily tasks.


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