Yeungnam Univ J Med.  2018 Dec;35(2):205-212. 10.12701/yujm.2018.35.2.205.

Association of head circumference with cognitive decline and symptoms of depression in elderly: a 3-year prospective study

  • 1Department of Neurology, Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.


Brain volume is associated with dementia and depression in the elderly. An easy way to predict relative brain volume is to measure head circumference. In this study, we investigated the relationship between head circumference and cognition as well as depression in a non-demented elderly community.
Baseline and follow-up surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2010. At baseline, community residents aged 65 years or over (n=382) within a rural area of South Korea were screened for dementia and symptoms of depression and were followed using the same screening battery after 3 years (n=279). Data from anthropometric measurements (head circumference, height, and body weight), demographics, and blood tests were gathered. Neuropsychological tests, including the Korean version of mini-mental state examination (K-MMSE), clinical dementia rating (CDR) including the CDR-sum of boxes, the Korean version of instrumental activities of daily living, and geriatric depression scale (GDS), were performed. None of the 279 subjects followed were demented.
Baseline performance on the K-MMSE and GDS was poorer for participants with smaller head circumferences. Follow-up performance on the MMSE was also poorer for participants with smaller head circumferences. Interestingly, participants with smaller head circumference showed worse GDS scores at baseline but on follow-up examination, participants with larger head circumference showed rapid worsening than those with smaller head circumference with marginal significance by ANOVA test. In regression coefficient analysis, GDS decline showed significant difference.
Head circumference was not associated with cognitive change but was associated with symptoms of depression in non-demented community residents.


Clinical dementia rating; Cognition; Geriatric depression scale; Head circumference; Mini mental state examination
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