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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 1998 September;40(3):191-5

language: English

Electrolytes and cog­ni­tive func­tion in the eld­er­ly: relationship ­between ser­um sodi­um and chlo­ride con­cen­tra­tions and psy­cho­met­ric ­test ­scores

Rondanelli M., Solerte S. B., Ferrari E.

From the Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy Chair of Geriatrics University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy


Background. It is ­well ­known ­that nutri­tion­al stat­us and CNS func­tions are close­ly relat­ed. Malnutrition ­leads to an ­impaired cog­ni­tive per­for­mance, and men­tal dis­tur­banc­es may be respon­sible for alter­a­tions in eat­ing beha­vi­our. The cor­re­la­tion ­between nutri­tion­al and cog­ni­tive stat­us ­seems to be ­even clos­er in the eld­er­ly ­because of the high­er inci­dence of neu­ro­psy­chic syn­dromes and mal­nu­tri­tion.
Methods. Given ­this back­ground, we set up ­this ­study in ­order to cor­re­late cog­ni­tive stat­us (inves­ti­gat­ed ­using the Mini-Mental State Examination -­MMSE- and the Geriatric Depression Scale -GDS-) and var­i­ous bio­chem­i­cal nutri­tion­al indi­ca­tors (ser­um elec­tro­lytes, albu­min, trans­fer­rin, eryth­roc­y­tes, lym­pho­cyte ­count, hem­a­toc­rit, hemo­glo­bin, ­total cho­les­te­rol, HDL cho­les­te­rol, tri­gly­ce­rides and ­total pro­teins) in 82 appar­ent­ly ­healthy eld­er­ly peo­ple (­mean age ±SD 87±6).
Results. Our ­data dem­on­strat­ed a cor­re­la­tion ­between the ­MMSE ­score (26±2) and Na (138.1±3.0 ­mmol/L, r=-0.66, p<0.001) and Cl (102.4±4.5 ­mmol/L, r=-0.62, p <0.001) ser­um elec­tro­lytes, but no cor­re­la­tion ­with the oth­er nutri­tion­al ­data. The dem­on­strat­ed rela­tion­ship ­does not ­appear to be cas­u­al ­because Na and Cl are chem­i­cal­ly and phys­io­log­i­cal­ly ­linked.
Conclusions. These cor­re­la­tions under­line the rel­e­vance of the cor­rect ­intake and metab­olism of elec­tro­lytes for func­tion­al CNS activ­ity in the eld­er­ly.

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