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1.  Modelling Cognitive Decline in the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial [HYVET] and Proposed Risk Tables for Population Use 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11775.
Although, on average, cognition declines with age, cognition in older adults is a dynamic process. Hypertension is associated with greater decline in cognition with age, but whether treatment of hypertension affects this is uncertain. Here, we modelled dynamics of cognition in relation to the treatment of hypertension, to see if treatment effects might better be discerned by a model that included baseline measures of cognition and consequent mortality
Methodology/Principal Findings
This is a secondary analysis of the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET), a double blind, placebo controlled trial of indapamide, with or without perindopril, in people aged 80+ years at enrollment. Cognitive states were defined in relation to errors on the Mini-Mental State Examination, with more errors signifying worse cognition. Change in cognitive state was evaluated using a dynamic model of cognitive transition. In the model, the probabilities of transitions between cognitive states is represented by a Poisson distribution, with the Poisson mean dependent on the baseline cognitive state.
The dynamic model of cognitive transition was good (R2 = 0.74) both for those on placebo and (0.86) for those on active treatment. The probability of maintaining cognitive function, based on baseline function, was slightly higher in the actively treated group (e.g., for those with the fewest baseline errors, the chance of staying in that state was 63% for those on treatment, compared with 60% for those on placebo). Outcomes at two and four years could be predicted based on the initial state and treatment.
A dynamic model of cognition that allows all outcomes (cognitive worsening, stability improvement or death) to be categorized simultaneously detected small but consistent differences between treatment and control groups (in favour of treatment) amongst very elderly people treated for hypertension. The model showed good fit, and suggests that most change in cognition in very elderly people is small, and depends on their baseline state and on treatment. Additional work is needed to understand whether this modelling approach is well suited to the valuation of small effects, especially in the face of mortality differences between treatment groups.
Trial Registration NCT0012281
PMCID: PMC2909901  PMID: 20668673
2.  Broadening Options for Long-term Dialysis in the Elderly (BOLDE): differences in quality of life on peritoneal dialysis compared to haemodialysis for older patients 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(11):3755-3763.
Background. Health-related quality of life (QOL) is an important outcome for older people who are often on dialysis for life. Little is, however, known about differences in QOL on haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) in older age groups. Randomising patients to either modality to assess outcomes is not feasible.
Methods. In this cross-sectional, multi-centred study we conducted QOL assessments (Short Form-12 Mental and Physical Component Summary scales, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Illness Intrusiveness Ratings Scale) in 140 people (aged 65 years or older) on PD and HD.
Results. The groups were similar in age, gender, time on dialysis, ethnicity, Index of Deprivation (based on postcode), dialysis adequacy, cognitive function (Mini-Mental State Exam and Trail-Making Test B), nutritional status (Subjective Global Assessment) and social networks. There was a higher comorbidity score in the HD group. Regression analyses were undertaken to ascertain which variables significantly influence each QOL assessment. All were influenced by symptom count highlighting that the patient’s perception of their symptoms is a critical determinant of their mental and physical well being. Modality was found to be an independent predictor of illness intrusion with greater intrusion felt in those on HD.
Conclusions. Overall, in two closely matched demographic groups of older dialysis patients, QOL was similar, if not better, in those on PD. This study strongly supports offering PD to all suitable older people.
PMCID: PMC2957589  PMID: 20400451
elderly; haemodialysis; peritoneal dialysis; quality of life
3.  Smoking, dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly, a systematic review 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:36.
Nicotine may aid reaction time, learning and memory, but smoking increases cardiovascular risk. Cardiovascular risk factors have been linked to increased risk of dementia. A previous meta-analysis found that current smokers were at higher risk of subsequent dementia, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and cognitive decline.
In order to update and examine this further a systematic review and meta-analysis was carried out using different search and inclusion criteria, database selection and more recent publications. Both reviews were restricted to those aged 65 and over.
The review reported here found a significantly increased risk of Alzheimer's disease with current smoking and a likely but not significantly increased risk of vascular dementia, dementia unspecified and cognitive decline. Neither review found clear relationships with former smoking.
Current smoking increases risk of Alzheimer's disease and may increase risk of other dementias. This reinforces need for smoking cessation, particularly aged 65 and over. Nicotine alone needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2642819  PMID: 19105840
4.  Haemoglobin, anaemia, dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly, a systematic review 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:18.
Anaemia may increase risk of dementia or cognitive decline. There is also evidence that high haemoglobin levels increase risk of stroke, and consequently possible cognitive impairment. The elderly are more at risk of developing dementia and are also more likely to suffer from anaemia, although there is relatively little longitudinal literature addressing this association.
To evaluate the evidence for any relationship between incident cognitive decline or dementia in the elderly and anaemia or haemoglobin level, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses of peer reviewed publications. Medline, Embase and PsychInfo were searched for English language publications between 1996 and 2006. Criteria for inclusion were longitudinal studies of subjects aged ≥65, with primary outcomes of incident dementia or cognitive decline. Other designs were excluded.
Three papers were identified and only two were able to be combined into a meta-analysis. The pooled hazard ratio for these two studies was 1.94 (95 percent confidence intervals of 1.32–2.87) showing a significantly increased risk of incident dementia with anaemia. It was not possible to investigate the effect of higher levels of haemoglobin.
Anaemia is one factor to bear in mind when evaluating risk of incident dementia. However, there are few data available and the studies were methodologically varied so a cautionary note needs to be sounded and our primary recommendation is that further robust research be carried out.
PMCID: PMC2529275  PMID: 18691409
5.  Fracture risk and the use of a diuretic (indapamide sr) ± perindopril: a substudy of the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET) 
Trials  2006;7:33.
The Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET) is a placebo controlled double blind trial of treating hypertension with indapamide Slow Release (SR) ± perindopril in subjects over the age of 80 years. The primary endpoints are stroke (fatal and non fatal). In view of the fact that thiazide diuretics and indapamide reduce urinary calcium and may increase bone mineral density, a fracture sub study was designed to investigate whether or not the trial anti-hypertensive treatment will reduce the fracture rate in very elderly hypertensive subjects.
In the trial considerable care is taken to ascertain any fractures and to identify risk factors for fracture, such as falls, co-morbidity, drug treatment, smoking and drinking habits, levels of activity, biochemical abnormalities, cardiac irregularities, impaired cognitive function and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension.
Potential results
The trial is expected to provide 10,500 patient years of follow-up. Given a fracture rate of 40/1000 patient years and a 20% difference in fracture rate, the power of the sub study is 58% to detect this difference at the 5% level of significance. The corresponding power for a reduction of 25% is 78%.
The trial is well under way, expected to complete in 2009, and on target to detect, if present, the above differences in fracture rate.
PMCID: PMC1769508  PMID: 17177983

Results 1-5 (5)