Objective: To assess whether faster cognitive decline in elders without dementia is associated with decreased risk of cancer mortality. Methods: In this population-based, prospective study of 2,627 people without dementia aged 65 years and older (Neurological Disorders in Central Spain), a 37-item version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (37-MMSE) was administered at 2 visits (baseline and follow-up, approximately 3 years later). We divided change in 37-MMSE into tertiles (lower tertile ≥2 point improvement in score, higher tertile ≥2 point decline in score). Community-dwelling elders were followed for a median of 12.9 years, after which the death certificates of those who died were examined. Results: A total of 1,003 (38.2%) died, including 339 (33.8%) deaths among participants who were in the higher tertile of 37-MMSE change and 664 (66.2%) deaths among those in the remaining tertiles. Cancer was reported significantly less often in those in the higher tertile of MMSE change (20.6%) than in those in the remaining tertiles (28.6%): in an unadjusted Cox model, hazard ratio for cancer mortality in participants within the higher tertile = 0.75 (p = 0.04) compared with the participants within the remaining tertiles. In a Cox model that adjusted for a variety of demographic factors and comorbidities, hazard ratio for cancer mortality in participants within the higher tertile = 0.70 (p = 0.01). Conclusion: In this population-based, prospective study of community-dwelling elders without dementia, faster cognitive decline was associated with a decreased risk of cancer mortality. Further studies are required to elucidate this inverse association in elders without dementia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology