Assessment of executive function before and after vitamin D replacement in vulnerable adults who self-neglect

Sabrina L Pickens, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose: Self-neglect (SN) is the inability to maintain self-care needs. It is thought that older adults who have impaired executive function (EF) develop the inability to do self-care and to protect themselves. The specific aims were to (1) determine the feasibility of using multiple EF measures with community-dwelling elders with SN, (2) identify changes in EF between baseline and 5-months in community-dwelling elders with SN who receive 50,000 IU or 400 IU of oral vitamin D monthly and (2) explore changes in specific dimensions of EF between the groups. Methods: Fifty adults, 65 years of age and older, were recruited from Adult Protective Services with confirmed SN. A research nurse administered the following tests at baseline and five-months: Delis-Kaplan Card Sort Test (D-KEFS), Executive Interview (EXIT 25), CLOX Drawing Test (CLOX I, II), Trails Making Test A and B (TMT A & B) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Demographic data was collected at baseline and serum 25-OHD levels were collected at baseline and five-months. Results: Older adults with SN were more likely to fail the CLOX1 and D-KEFS, while passing the MMSE, CLOX II, TMT A & B and the EXIT 25. At five-months, the only statistically significant difference between groups was in the TMT A & B test scores; the control group did better than the treatment group. There was a non-significant increase in serum vitamin D levels for both groups and no difference between groups. Conclusions: Results from this study provide support that individuals who SN will complete a battery of EF tests and that they exhibit the following impairments consistent with executive dysfunction: 'concept generation', 'planning', 'inhibition', and 'spatial working memory'. Utilizing only one EF measure in individuals with intact cognition may result in unidentification of individuals with executive dysfunction, thus delaying necessary treatment. Future studies should attempt to determine different etiologies of executive dysfunction and determine if early treatment can prevent or reverse SN. Key Words: Self-neglect, Executive Dysfunction, Executive Function, Adult Protective Services, Community-dwelling, Vitamin D

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Recommended Citation

Pickens, Sabrina L, "Assessment of executive function before and after vitamin D replacement in vulnerable adults who self-neglect" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3528769.