THE LINK BETWEEN POTASSIUM AND MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT IN MEXICAN AMERICANS

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2013-04-12

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Rohlfing, Geoffrey

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Abstract

Purpose: Assessing electrolytes is a cornerstone of the geriatric primary care visit. Research suggests that potassium may be linked to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and cognitive functioning; however, this link has not been investigated in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) a prodromal category to AD. The purpose of this study was to examine the link between serum electrolytes and diagnosis of MCI. Methods: Data on a total of 473 participants (278 non-Hispanic white and 195 Mexican American) from Project FRONTIER were analyzed. Each participant underwent an interview (i.e. medical history, medications, health behaviors), neuropsychological testing, blood draw, and medical examination, and informant interviews. Weekly consensus reviews were conducted reviewing the data and diagnoses of MCI assigned according to published criteria by clinical experts. Participants classified as cognitively normal control (NC) performed within normal limits on all psychometric assessment. Serum electrolytes included in this study were sodium, chloride, carbon dioxide, and potassium. Age and Education were entered into the models as co-variates. Logistic regression was used to assess the risk of MCI diagnosis. Analysis was split by ethnicity. Results: For Mexican Americans, the results of this study indicated that serum potassium levels significantly increased the risk of diagnosis of MCI (odds ratio [OR]= 3.2, 95% CI=1.2 to 8.2). No other electrolytes were found to significantly increase risk for MCI. For non-Hispanic whites, age and education alone increased risk for MCI diagnosis. No electrolytes were found to increase risk for MCI diagnosis for this ethnic group. Conclusions: Our findings suggested a link between serum potassium levels and a diagnosis of MCI for Mexican Americans. The results of this study support previous research which has suggested that the risk factors for MCI may vary by ethnicity. Additional work is needed to cross-validate these findings and examine their utility in designing treatment protocols.

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