Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Ingrid Lofgren


Objective: To describe cognitive, nutritional and physical functioning status of those with diagnosed neurological disorders for at least one year.

Design: This is a cross-sectional study.

Setting: University of Rhode Island’s Speech and Hearing Clinic.

Participants: Community-dwelling adults living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) or acquired brain injury (ABI) for ≥ 12 months.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Cognitive-linguistic status was measured via the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS). Nutritional and cardio-metabolic status were measured using the dietary screening tool (DST), anthropometrics (height, weight, body mass index (BMI), body composition), biochemical (lipid and glucose profile), and clinical (blood pressure) measures. Physical activity and functioning were measured via the Physical Activity and Disability Survey (PADS), short physical performance battery (SPPB), and the timed up and go (TUG) test.

Results: Twelve participants were assessed (8 PD, 4 ABI). Participants with PD had significantly higher total RBANS scores than participants with ABI (87.1±14.6 vs. 66.0±12.6, p=0.034, d=2.455). Mean BMI (n=12) was 26.8±3.0kg/m2 and the majority of participants were overweight. DST scores indicated 58% (N=7) at possible nutrition risk and 25% (N=3) were at nutrition risk. Mean PADS scores (94.9±89.7) indicated participants were physically active. A positive correlation was found between general activity scores and DST scores (r=0.697, p=0.012). Fifty percent of participants reported suboptimal SPPB, balance or TUG scores. Multiple risk factors for development of CVD were present in all participants.

Conclusion: Deficits in cognition, low dietary quality and physical functioning, and cardio-metabolic risk factors are frequently reported in patients with neurological disorders. These findings confirmed the presence of cognitive, dietary and physical decline in our participant group and support the need for an interdisciplinary team to work with patients and caregivers to improve health and prevent further development of comorbidities in this population.



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