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Keywords:

  • asthma;
  • cognition;
  • corticosteroid;
  • elderly;
  • spirometry

Abstract

Background

Minimal data are available on the relationship between asthma and cognitive performance. In this report, we examine the relationship between asthma and cognitive performance in older adults, a subpopulation with elevated risk of cognitive impairment.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional, retrospective analysis of 1380 participants age ≥55 who completed preventive health examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX. Cognition was assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), a brief test for mild cognitive impairment. Data were analyzed in a multiple logistic regression using MoCA scores suggestive of cognitive impairment as the dependent variable.

Results

When controlling for demographic characteristics, self-rated health status, inhaled corticosteroid use, and FEV1/FVC, asthma were associated with 78% increased risk of cognitive impairment (P = 0.02) as defined by MoCA score.

Conclusions

In the largest sample examined to date, we have identified a significant relationship between asthma and cognitive impairment in older people.