1University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

2St. Elizabeth Healthcare

3Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

4Neurotrack Technologies

Physical function and cognitive function in older adults are known to decline over time. With the increasing older adult population worldwide, there is an increase in the prevalence of dementia and cognitive impairment within the population. In 2015 roughly 47 million people were living with dementia and this number is expected to triple by the year 2050. Cognitive decline is something that often goes unrecognized or undetected leading to long-term complications. Therefore, the need for an accessible assessment to predict cognitive decline is necessary. There is growing evidence in the association between physical function performance and cognitive function. However, a strong relationship between the two has yet to be established. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if four physical function measures in addition to previous fall history can predict scores on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of neuropsychological Status (RBANS) in older adults. METHODS: Adults ages 60-75 years (N: 24) were selected if they had experienced a fall within the previous 12 months. Among participants falls were used as a predictor along with 4 physical function assessments: Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), 10-meter Dual-task at fast pace (10mDTFast), Chair Stands (CS), and peak force (PkF) of lower body power through chair stands. The four physical assessments were chosen to closely represent daily living activities. The following cognitive paradigms were assessed using RBANS: line orientations, figure copy, story memory, semantic fluency, picture naming, coding, and digit span. The four physical assessments among fallers were analyzed to predict RBANS score using a linear regression predictive model. RESULTS: The four physical function assessments among fallers predicted many of the cognitive paradigms. Physical function accounted for the greatest variance in line orientation. (R2 = .62). The other cognitive paradigms were also significantly predicted by knowing physical function assessment scores (Figure Copy = .26, Story Memory = .29, Semantic Fluency = .31, Picture Naming = .21, Coding = .29, and Digit Span = .28). CONCLUSION: Physical function performance assessments are capable of predicting several RBANS assessment scores of older adults aged 60-75 among fallers.

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