High pain levels linked with impaired memory in the over-65s

Findings underline the importance of keeping track of pain

Older adults with high levels of pain are more likely to develop impaired memory than those with low levels of pain, a new study suggests.

The findings provide evidence that pain is a potentially modifiable risk factor for memory impairment, and underline the importance of monitoring pain in older adults, according to lead author Dr Guusje van der Leeuw, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. 

The authors prospectively studied 441 participants without dementia who were at least 65 years old and were enrolled in the single-centre Central Control of Mobility in Aging Study. 

They analysed the link between scores on the Medical Outcomes Study pain severity scale and other cognitive tests.

Over a mean follow-up of 2.75 years, there was no difference in the risk of developing cognitive impairment between the 285 participants with pain and the 156 without, the