Self-reported cognitive issues significant for people with lower limb loss

NEW ORLEANS — People with lower limb loss self-reported a wide range of cognitive concerns, according to study results presented at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium, here.

While previous studies have linked cognitive impairment to dysvascular lower limb loss, Sara Morgan, PhD, CPO said often these studies exclude other types of lower limb loss, such as amputation. The studies also focus solely on gross forms of cognitive impairment, such as dementia and are reported by secondary parties.

Sara Morgan


“Cognitive impairment is rarely studied from the perspective of lower limb loss … and we thought that if you assessed it from the perspective of [a person with] lower limb loss, we might get more information [and recognize issues] that you may not see if you were just sitting with a patient.”

Morgan and colleagues studied a group of 1,086 adult prosthetic limb users with unilateral lower limb loss using a one-time paper or electronic survey, which included among other questions the NeuroQoL Applied General Cognition Concerns vol. 1 short form. Of those surveyed, 602 people had traumatic limb loss and 484 with dysvascular limb loss.

The purpose of this study was to compare self-reported cognitive concerns: first between people with lower limb loss and normative values that were based on the U.S. general population, and then also between those with traumatic and dysvascular lower limb etiologies. Overall, results showed that people with lower limb loss self-reported significantly more cognitive concerns that the general population. The researchers also found that reported concerns did not differ by etiology or age.

Morgan said the results could affect clinical practice.

“If we are able to screen people for cognitive dysfunction, we may be able to better prescribe prosthetic devices that may not be so complicated for someone who may not be able to efficiently use that every single day. In addition, this might tell us as clinicians how we might put together some educational materials for people. If someone tells us that they have problems with reading things and understanding them, they we might not be able to rely on educational materials that have a lot of words, but rather we should create something that has more pictures.” – by Amanda Alexander


Morgan S. Self-reported cognitive concerns in people with lower limb loss. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium; Feb. 18-21, 2015; New Orleans.

Disclosure: Morgan reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.