Health Risk, Functional Markers and Cognitive Status in Institutionalized Older Adults: A Longitudinal Study
A Follow-up of vitamin B12 and lipids status is essential in older people, being closely related to non-communicable diseases. Their relationships with cognitive and physical status are not clear. The aim was to analyze the evolution of vitamin B12 and related parameters, lipid and hematological profiles, and their relationships with cognitive and physical status among institutionalized elderly. Sixty residents, ranged from 62 to 99, were evaluated. Biomarkers (vitamin B12 and related parameters, lipid and hematological profiles), functional capacity (handgrip, arm and leg strength), and cognitive status (Mini-Mental State Examination) were evaluated four times at 4-month intervals. At the beginning of the study, 63% and 70% of the sample showed abnormal homocysteine and folate values, respectively. At the end of the year, abnormal homocysteine increased to 68%, abnormal folate values decreased to 50%. Throughout the year, serum folate showed a significant increase (14.9 vs. 16.3 nmol/L), (p < 0.05). Serum cobalamin (299 vs. 273 pmol/L). HDL-cholesterol (49.9 vs. 47.0 mg/dL) and triglyceride levels (102.4 vs. 123.2 mg/dL) showed a significant decrease and increase respectively in mean values (all p < 0.05). Serum cobalamin and HDL-cholesterol were the most important biomarkers associated with cognitive function (both p < 0.05). The most relevant biomarkers associated with poor physical strength depending on the body part analyzed were low concentrations of HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1, and albumin (all p < 0.05). The evolution of lipid biomarkers, their significance with cognitive values, and association with handgrip, point to the importance of the handgrip measurement, a very simple test, as an important health marker. Both serum albumin and physical strength are important health markers in older people.