Different cognitive functions in relation to falls among older persons: Immediate memory as an independent risk factor for falls.

ABSTRACT. It is not clear which specific cognitive function is strongest related to falls. To investigate this, not only "general cognitive functioning," but also "nonverbal and abstract reasoning," "information processing speed," and "immediate memory" were related to falls. Furthermore, relevant effect modifiers, confounders, and mediators were identified. This study was performed within the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA), a multidisciplinary, prospective cohort study. In this study (n = 1437), an interaction between "immediate memory" and age was found. In persons aged 75 years and over, "immediate memory," as measured by the 15 Words Test, showed to be an independent risk factor for falls. Part of this relationship was explained by the mediating effects of activity, mobility, and grip strength. The association between the other cognitive functions and falls was only statistically significant in univariate analysis. We conclude that "immediate memory" is an independent risk factor for recurrent falls in persons aged 75 years and older.