The impact of functional impairment on the survival of patients with Alzheimer's disease

Fu-Wen Liang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is the fifth leading cause of death among U.S. adults aged 65 or older. Most AD patients have shorter life expectancy compared with older people without dementia. This disease has become an enormous challenge in the aging society and is also a global problem. Not only do families of patients with Alzheimer's disease need to pay attention to this problem, but also the healthcare system and society as a whole have to confront. In dementia, functional impairment is associated with basic activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). For patients with Alzheimer's disease, problems typically appear in performing IADL and progress to the inability of managing less complex ADL functions of personal care. Thus, assessment of ADLs can be used for early accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. It should be useful for patients, caregivers, clinicians, and policy planners to estimate the survival of patients with Alzheimer's disease. However, it is unclear that when making predictions of patient outcome according to their histories, time-dependent covariates will provide us with important information on how changes in a patient's status can effect the survival. In this study, we examined the effect of impaired basic ADL as measured by the Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS) and utilized a multistate survival analysis approach to estimate the probability of death in the first few years of initial visit for AD patients taking into consideration the possibility of impaired basic ADL. The dataset used in this study was obtained from the Baylor Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center (ADMDC). No impaired basic ADL and older age at onset of impaired basic ADL were associated with longer survival. These findings suggest that the occurrence of impaired basic ADL and age at impaired basic ADL could be predictors of survival among patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Subject Area

Gerontology|Public health

Recommended Citation

Liang, Fu-Wen, "The impact of functional impairment on the survival of patients with Alzheimer's disease" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450343.