CHICAGO, May 6 (UPI) — A U.S. study suggests more than half of all liver patients experience neurocognitive impairments that are more severe than in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Loyola University researchers said they found 54 percent of 301 cirrhosis patients tested in the study scored below the 10th percentile for their age and education on a test measuring neurocognitive abilities.
“Neurocognitive impairment is a major issue in patients with liver disease,” said neuropsychologist Christopher Randolph, who led the study. “This can affect patients’ ability to do everyday tasks, such as working, driving or managing their finances.”
He said in the general population, the average score on neurocognitive abilities tests is 100. Among the liver patients with neurocognitive impairments tested in the study, the average score was 74. That, he said, is lower than the average score of patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Randolph, a clinical professor at the university’s Stritch School of Medicine, said his study is the first to document how liver patients compare with the general population.
The research indicated the prevalence of neurocognitive impairment was independent of age, gender, educational level or severity of the underlying disease.
The findings were presented Monday in New Orleans during a Digestive Disease Week meeting of physicians and researchers.
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