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

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

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


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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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