Differential associations between simple physical performance tests with global and specific cognitive functions in cognitively normal and mild cognitive impairment: a cross-sectional cohort study of Asian community-dwelling older adults

Ted Kheng Siang Ng, Madeline Fu Yun Han, Ping Yeap Loh, Ee Heok Kua, Junhong Yu, John R. Best, Rathi Mahendran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Physical performance declines and executive dysfunctions are predictors of dementia. However, their associations are not well understood in Asian older adults without dementia (cognitively normal [CN] and mild cognitive impairment [MCI]), especially in a single study. Objective: Examine the associations between physical performance measures with executive function (EF)-based and non-EF-based neurocognitive tests and whether preclinical dementia cognitive status i.e., CN and MCI, moderated these associations. Methods: We examined cross-sectional cohort of 716 community-dwelling older adults without dementia (CN = 562 and MCI = 154) using multivariable linear regression models. We associated three simple physical performance measures, namely timed-up-and-go (TUG), fast gait speed (FGS), and 30-s chair stand test (30 s-CST), with a comprehensive neurocognitive test battery measuring EF and non-EF cognitive functions. Moderating effects of cognitive status on the associations were examined. In all models, we controlled for pertinent covariates, including age, education, medical and psychiatric status. Results: Upon controlling for covariates, TUG was most strongly and positively associated with multiple EF-based neurocognitive tests, followed by FGS, with 30 s-CST having the weakest associations. For all physical performance measures, no significant associations with non-EF-based neurocognitive tests were detected. Cognitive status significantly moderated the associations between all physical measures and several neurocognitive tests, with stronger associations in the MCI than CN. Conclusion: Compared to FGS and 30 s-CST, TUG had the most robust associations with multiple EF-based cognitive functions. Given their differential associations with global and detailed neurocognitive tests and significant moderating effects of cognitive status, findings highlight a need to carefully consider the choices of simple physical performance tests when using these tests with a heterogenous group of community-dwelling older adults without dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number798
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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