The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women who are between the ages of 45 and 85 when recruited, for at least 20 years. The CLSA will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age.
Using baseline data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), we examined the burden of five neurological conditions. The CLSA is a population-based study of approximately 50,000 individuals, aged 45 to 85 years at baseline. We used multivariable Poisson regression to identify correlates of comorbidity burden and healthcare utilization.
RESULTS: The lifetime prevalence of five neurological diseases is presented: epilepsy, Parkinson's disease/parkinsonism, stroke/transient ischemic attack, multiple sclerosis, and migraine. We found the somatic and psychiatric comorbidity burden to be higher in those individuals with a neurological disease (an 18% to 45% mean increase in the number of chronic conditions), as compared to the comparison group without a neurological disease, except for Parkinson's disease/parkinsonism. The presence of a neurological disease was associated with only a modest increase in the probability of visiting a general practitioner but was associated with a greatly increased probability of visiting a medical specialist (up to 68% more likely), an emergency department (up to 79% more likely), and an overnight hospitalization (up to 108% more likely).
CONCLUSIONS: We found striking associations between our neurological diseases and increased comorbidity burdens and healthcare utilization. These findings are important for informing public policy planning as well as driving avenues for future research. The present study establishes the CLSA as an important research platform for the study of neurological conditions in an aging general population 1).