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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 31

J Clin Med



Prospective Association between Multimorbidity and Falls and Its Mediators: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.


Jacob L, Shin J I, Kostev K, Haro J M, López-Sánchez GF, Smith L, Koyanagi A
J Clin Med. 2022 Jul 31; 11(15).
PMID: 35956086.


This study including older adults from Ireland aimed to analyze the prospective association between multimorbidity and falls and to identify the mediators in this relationship. The present study used data from two consecutive waves of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) survey. Multimorbidity was assessed at Wave 1 (2009-2011) and was defined as the presence of at least two chronic conditions. Falls occurring at Wave 2 (2012-2013) were self-reported. Mediating variables considered were polypharmacy, cognitive impairment, sleep problems, pain, low handgrip strength, difficulty in activities of daily living (ADL), obesity, and underweight. Multivariable binary logistic regression and mediation analysis using the Karlson Holm Breen method were conducted. This study included 6900 adults aged ≥50 years (51.6% women; mean [SD] age 63.1 [8.9] years). Compared to no chronic conditions at baseline, there was a positive and significant association between multimorbidity and falls at follow-up, with ORs ranging from 1.32 (95% CI = 1.06-1.64) for 2 conditions to 1.92 (95% CI = 1.54-2.38) for ≥4 conditions. Pain (23.5%), polypharmacy (13.3%), and difficulty in ADL (10.7%) explained the largest proportion of the multimorbidity-fall relationship. Multimorbidity increased risk for incident falls in older adults from Ireland. Interventions should be implemented to reduce fall risk in people with multimorbidity, especially targeting the identified mediators.