Yamada et al. (2019) conducted a prospective study to determine the association of low back pain and knee pain with the development of dementia. Chronic knee and low back pain often lead to dementia in people of advanced age, hence an investigation was made regarding it in the JAGES project. The Japanese of advanced age were studied in this project to determine the primary risk factor influencing cognitive impairment.
Activities of daily life (ADL) are affected by both knee and low back pain, but the impact of these on cognitive impairment or dementia development is not clearly veiled. Yamada designed and mailed a self-administered questionnaire to individuals over 65 years of age. All 14,627 randomly selected participants were shown to have no history of any of the diseases, including depression, injuries, cancer, stroke, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease and were required to complete a self-administered questionnaire. The method includes a three-year follow-up plan for the participants.
Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated through the application of the Cox regression model. Patients with knee pain and an age ranging from 65 to 79 years were shown to have a higher risk for dementia [HR: 1.73], while a low risk was found in participants with a low back [HR: 0.50]. The risk of dementia development is high for knee pain patients and even higher for non-regular walkers. They become unable to communicate well with others and suffer from loss of memory. The researchers concluded that the majority of knee pain patients undergo physical inactivity and often suffer from high sedative loads, which increases their risk for dementia. The declining brain abilities and function due to knee pain or immobility can be treated with the use of medication and regular physical activity.
Yamada, K., Kubota, Y., Tabuchi, T., Shirai, K., Iso, H., Kondo, N., & Kondo, K. (2019). A prospective study of knee pain, low back pain, and risk of dementia: the JAGES project. Sci Rep, 9(1), 10690. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-47005-x