Washington: If you face a slight problem in thinking, concentrating, reasoning and remembering, you may have a short life, says a research. Moderate cognitive impairment can affect one's longevity, similar to that of diabetes or chronic heart failure.

Cognitive impairment affects memory but is distinct from a learning disability as it may have been acquired later in life after an accident or illness.

“We found that even mild cognitive impairment, as determined by a simple screening tool. It has a strong impact on how long individuals survive on the same order as other chronic diseases,” said Greg A. Sachs of Indiana University who conducted the investigation.

The study followed 3,957 patients.

At the screening, 3,157 had no cognitive impairment, 533 had mild impairment and 267 had moderate to severe impairment, according to a university statement.

During follow-up, 57 percent of patients with no impairment died, compared with 68 percent of those with mild impairment and 79 percent of those with moderate to severe impairment.

Average survival time was 138 months for patients with no impairment, 106 months for those with mild impairment, and 63 months for those with moderate to severe impairment.

The number is significantly higher if individuals with milder forms of cognitive impairment are included. The prevalence of cognitive impairment at all stages is expected to increase as the population ages.

(Agencies)