There is a close interaction between cognitive and functional performance in the normal brain. It increases in cases of brain disease, where a worse initial cognitive performance is associated with subsequent functional decline.
To describe the cognitive and functional performance profile and their interaction in a population of patients with Vascular Dementia (VD).
We studied 79 patients (Group 1, G1) with VD and 80 healthy subjects without brain disease (Group 2, G2). The following tests were administered to all the study population: ADAS Cog., Trail Making Test (TMT), Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL, IADL), Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD), and Gottfries-Brane-Steen Scale (GBS). Scores were statistically evaluated usingthe ANOVA Test, Spearman's correlation matrix and Principal Component Analysis (PCA).
The average age of G1 was 72.6 + 7.1 and their literacy level was 8.05 + 4.76 years. The cognitive profile showed a significant global decline in the MMSE (19.9 + 3.77 points) and in the ADAS Cog (29.2 + 8.80 points). In this group, the cognitive functions most compromised were Memory, Orientation and Recognition and, to a lesser degree, Attention, Language and Praxis. The functional profile showed the greatest impairment in IADL. The PCA showed a correlation of ADAS with TMT and Katz Index, and of MMSE and DAD.
The results highlight the interaction between complex functional performance and cognition, suggesting an impact of cognitive impairments linked to executive function on functional performance, of potential therapeutic significance.