Volume 68, Issue 5 p. 1072-1077
Brief Report

Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome in Polypharmacy

Claudene J. George MD, MS, RPh

Corresponding Author

Claudene J. George MD, MS, RPh

Montefiore Medical Center, Division of Geriatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

Address correspondence to Claudene J. George, MD, RPh, Division of Geriatrics, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Joe Verghese MBBS, MS

Joe Verghese MBBS, MS

Division of Cognitive & Motor Aging and Geriatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

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First published: 24 February 2020
Citations: 10



Risk factors for motoric cognitive risk syndrome (MCR), a predementia syndrome characterized by slow gait and cognitive complaints, have been identified, but few are reversible. Polypharmacy is a potentially reversible risk factor for cognitive decline, but the relationship between MCR and polypharmacy has not been examined. Our aim was to compare the epidemiology of MCR and polypharmacy.




Community-based Health and Retirement Study cohort.


A total of 1119 adults 65 years and older (mean age = 74.7 ± 7.0 y; 59% female).


Polypharmacy is defined as the use of five or more regularly scheduled medications. MCR is defined as cognitive complaints and slow gait in an individual without dementia.


The prevalence of MCR among 417 participants with polypharmacy was 10%; it was 6% among 702 participants without polypharmacy. The odds of meeting MCR criteria in those with polypharmacy was 1.8 (confidence interval = 1.0-3.0; P = .035) compared with those without polypharmacy, even after adjusting for high-risk medication use.


Our results show the coexistence of MCR and polypharmacy in older adults, suggesting a potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc 68:1072–1077, 2020