Korean J Fam Med.  2016 May;37(3):164-170. 10.4082/kjfm.2016.37.3.164.

The Association between Frailty and Cognition in Elderly Women

  • 1Department of the Family Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kchosh@nate.com


Frailty refers to the loss of physiologic complexity and the associated decline in ability to withstand stressors as one gets older. It is defined as unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed, and low physical activity. According to several western studies, frailty is associated with cognitive impairment, but there have been few studies about the relationship between frailty and cognitive impairment in Korea. Thus, the purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between cognition and factors related to frailty such as grip strength, walking speed, physical activity, and depression, among female patients older than 65 in Korea.
A total of 121 subjects among the outpatients of the department of family medicine at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital who did not meet the exclusion criteria were included in this study. We divided the participants into 2 groups, according to the Korean version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score: 1 group with subjects that had normal cognition and the other group with patients that had impaired cognition. A comparison was made between the 2 groups in regards to the factors related to frailty, and we completed equation that predicting cognition from the frailty related factors.
Compared with the impaired cognition group, the subjects in the normal cognition group had higher hand strength, and walked faster (P<0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in physical activity between the 2 groups (P=0.19). When multiple linear regression analysis was performed using age, grip strength, and walking speed as the predictor variables and MoCA score as the dependent variable, the regression coefficients were calculated to be: -0.2015, 0.2294, 1.2372, and -0.1436, respectively (P<0.05).
In Korean female patients who are older than 65 years of age, cognition tends to decline as grip strength decreases, walking speed gets slower, depression becomes more severe, and as age increases.


Frail; Cognition; Hand Strengths; Walking; Depression
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