[Cognitive disorders and falls: experience of the Lille multidisciplinary falls service]

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2005 Apr;161(4):419-26. doi: 10.1016/s0035-3787(05)85071-4.
[Article in French]


Background: Falls and dementia are two major public health problems which concern the elderly population. Cognitive impairment, as a result of Alzheimer's disease or non-Alzheimer dementia, is recognized as a risk factor for falling. Through the experience of the Multidisciplinary Falls Consultation, our aims were first, to evaluate the prevalence of a cognitive decline among outpatients who consult for falls, and second, to determine whether the cognitive impairment was known and diagnosed before the consultation or not.

Methods: Data concerning the first 300 outpatients who completed the initial evaluation are reported. Each patient was assessed by a geriatrician, a neurologist, and a physiatrist, who visited him or her at home. Cognitive impairment was defined as a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score<24.

Results: Of the 300 patients, 228 patients completed the initial evaluation. Among them, 97 (42.5 percent) had a MMSE score<24; 55 had mild stage dementia (MMSE score between 23 and 18) and 42 were at a moderate or severe stage (MMSE score< or =17/30). The cognitive decline was not diagnosed before the consultation in 80 of the 97 patients (82 percent).

Conclusion: The findings show that a large proportion of old persons presenting with gait disturbance at the Multidisciplinary Falls Consultation have an underlying cognitive decline. Assessment of cognitive functions is required in every elderly faller.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paris
  • Retrospective Studies