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1.  Validation of a cognitive assessment battery administered by telephone 
While the gold standard method of cognitive assessment is a face-to-face administration, telephone-based assessments offer several advantages if they demonstrate reliability and validity.
Observational study; 110 participants randomly assigned to receive two administrations of the same cognitive test battery 6 months apart in one of four combinations (1st administration/2nd administration): telephone/telephone; telephone/face-to-face; face-to-face/telephone; or face-to-face/face-to-face.
Academic medical center
110 non-demented women between the ages of 65 and 90 years.
The battery included tests of attention, verbal learning and memory, verbal fluency, executive function, working memory and global cognitive functioning plus self-report measures of perceived memory problems, depressive symptoms, sleep disturbance and health-related quality of life. Test-retest reliability, concurrent validity, relative bias associated with telephone administration, and change scores were evaluated.
There were no statistically significant differences in scores on any of the cognitive tests or questionnaires between randomly assigned modes of administration at baseline indicating equivalence across modes. There was no significant bias for tests or questionnaires administered by telephone (ps>0.01). Nor was there a difference in mean change scores between administration modes except for the Category Fluency (p = 0.01) and the California Verbal Learning Test long delay-free recall (p < 0.01). Mean test-retest coefficients for the battery were not significantly different across groups though individual test-retest correlation coefficients were generally higher within mode than across mode.
Telephone administration of cognitive tests and questionnaires to older women is both reliable and valid. Use of telephone batteries can substantially reduce the economic cost and burden of cognitive assessments and increase enrollment, retention and data completeness thereby improving study validity.
PMCID: PMC3448122  PMID: 22985137
cognition; assessment; telephone; validation; tests
2.  Cynicism: Incident diabetes and worsening of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women 
Diabetes & metabolic syndrome  2010;4(4):187-189.
To determine if self-reported cynical hostility predicted incident diabetes or increase in number of symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.
Prospective study of a subsample of women (n = 3,658) participating in the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial.
Subjects: Postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at baseline who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, Hormone Trial or both. Measures: The Cynicism subscale of the Cook-Medley Hostility Questionnaire was used to assess cynical hostility at baseline. Incident diabetes was ascertained by self-report of treatment with insulin or oral hypoglycemic medication at one year. Metabolic syndrome was defined based on number of Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III criteria met at one year. Statistical Analysis: The relationship between baseline cynical hostility and incident diabetes and worsening of metabolic syndrome was assessed from baseline to one year using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models and multivariable logistic regression models, respectively.
Incident diabetes was 36% higher among women in the upper tertile for baseline cynical hostility compared to the lowest tertile (p-trend = 0.05). The odds of a worsening of metabolic syndrome was 27% greater in the highest cynical hostility tertile compared to the lowest tertile (p-trend = 0.04).
Cynical hostility may increase the risk for developing diabetes and worsening of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC4317350
Diabetes; Metabolic syndrome; Mood; Cynicism; Cynical hostility; Postmenopausal women
3.  Cognitive factors associated with adherence to oral anti-estrogen therapy: Results from the Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (Co-STAR) Study 
Little is known about the cognitive factors associated with adherence to anti-estrogen therapy. Our objective was to investigate the association between domain-specific cognitive function and adherence among women in a clinical prevention trial of oral anti-estrogen therapies. We performed a secondary analysis of Co-STAR, an ancillary study of the STAR breast cancer prevention trial in which postmenopausal women at increased breast cancer risk were randomized to tamoxifen or raloxifene. Co-STAR enrolled non-demented participants ≥65 years old to compare treatment effects on cognition. The cognitive battery assessed global cognitive function (Modified Mini-Mental State Exam), and specific cognitive domains of verbal knowledge, verbal fluency, figural memory, verbal memory, attention and working memory, spatial ability, and fine motor speed. Adherence was defined by a ratio of actual time taking therapy per protocol ≥80% of expected time. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between cognitive test scores and adherence to therapy. The mean age of the 1,331 Co-STAR participants was 67.2±4.3 years. Mean 3MS score was 95.1 (4.7) and 14% were non-adherent. In adjusted analyses, the odds of non-adherence were lower for those with better scores on verbal memory [OR (95% CI): 0.75 (0.62, 0.92)]. Larger relative deficits in verbal memory compared to verbal fluency were also associated with non-adherence [1.28 (1.08, 1.51)]. Among non-demented older women, subtle differences in memory performance were associated with medication adherence. Differential performance across cognitive domains may help identify persons at greater risk for poor adherence.
PMCID: PMC3924583  PMID: 24253314
adherence; cancer; cognition; elderly; tamoxifen; women
International journal of geriatric psychiatry  2013;28(12):10.1002/gps.3949.
Computer-administered assessment of cognitive function is being increasingly incorporated in clinical trials, however its performance in these settings has not been systematically evaluated.
The Seniors Health and Activity Research Program (SHARP) pilot trial (N=73) developed a computer-based tool for assessing memory performance and executive functioning. The Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Seniors (LIFE) investigators incorporated this battery in a full scale multicenter clinical trial (N=1635). We describe relationships that test scores have with those from interviewer-administered cognitive function tests and risk factors for cognitive deficits and describe performance measures (completeness, intra-class correlations).
Computer-based assessments of cognitive function had consistent relationships across the pilot and full scale trial cohorts with interviewer-administered assessments of cognitive function, age, and a measure of physical function. In the LIFE cohort, their external validity was further demonstrated by associations with other risk factors for cognitive dysfunction: education, hypertension, diabetes, and physical function. Acceptable levels of data completeness (>83%) were achieved on all computer-based measures, however rates of missing data were higher among older participants (odds ratio=1.06 for each additional year; p<0.001) and those who reported no current computer use (odds ratio=2.71; p<0.001). Intra-class correlations among clinics were at least as low (ICC≤0.013) as for interviewer measures (ICC≤0.023), reflecting good standardization. All cognitive measures loaded onto the first principal component (global cognitive function), which accounted for 40% of the overall variance.
Our results support the use of computer-based tools for assessing cognitive function in multicenter clinical trials of older individuals.
PMCID: PMC3775886  PMID: 23589390
Cognitive function; Clinical trial; Performance measures
5.  The LIFE Cognition Study: design and baseline characteristics 
Observational studies have shown beneficial relationships between exercise and cognitive function. Some clinical trials have also demonstrated improvements in cognitive function in response to moderate–high intensity aerobic exercise; however, these have been limited by relatively small sample sizes and short durations. The Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study is the largest and longest randomized controlled clinical trial of physical activity with cognitive outcomes, in older sedentary adults at increased risk for incident mobility disability. One LIFE Study objective is to evaluate the effects of a structured physical activity program on changes in cognitive function and incident all-cause mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Here, we present the design and baseline cognitive data. At baseline, participants completed the modified Mini Mental Status Examination, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Digit Symbol Coding, Modified Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure, and a computerized battery, selected to be sensitive to changes in speed of processing and executive functioning. During follow up, participants completed the same battery, along with the Category Fluency for Animals, Boston Naming, and Trail Making tests. The description of the mild cognitive impairment/dementia adjudication process is presented here. Participants with worse baseline Short Physical Performance Battery scores (prespecified at ≤7) had significantly lower median cognitive test scores compared with those having scores of 8 or 9 with modified Mini Mental Status Examination score of 91 versus (vs) 93, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test delayed recall score of 7.4 vs 7.9, and Digit Symbol Coding score of 45 vs 48, respectively (all P<0.001). The LIFE Study will contribute important information on the effects of a structured physical activity program on cognitive outcomes in sedentary older adults at particular risk for mobility impairment. In addition to its importance in the area of prevention of cognitive decline, the LIFE Study will also likely serve as a model for exercise and other behavioral intervention trials in older adults.
PMCID: PMC4154884  PMID: 25210447
exercise; physical activity; older adults; dementia
6.  Long Term Effects on Cognitive Function of Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Prescribed to Women Aged 50–55 Years 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(15):10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.7727.
Postmenopausal hormone therapy with conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) may adversely affect older women’s cognitive function. It is not known whether this extends to younger women.
1,326 postmenopausal women, who had begun treatment in two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of hormone therapy when aged 50–55 years, were assessed with an annual telephone-administered cognitive battery that included measures of global (primary outcome) and domain-specific cognitive functions (verbal memory, attention, executive function, verbal fluency, and working memory). The clinical trials in which they participated had compared 0.625 mg CEE with or without 2.5 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) over an average of 7.0 years. Cognitive testing was conducted an average of 7.2 years following the end of the trials, when women had mean age 67.2 years, and repeated one year later.
Global cognitive function scores from women who had been assigned to CEE-based therapies were similar to those from women assigned to placebo: mean [95% confidence interval] intervention effect of 0.02 [−0.08,0.12]standard deviation units (p=0.66). Similarly, no overall differences were found for any individual cognitive domain (all p>0.15). Pre-specified subgroup analyses found some evidence that CEE-based therapies may have adversely affected verbal fluency among women who had prior hysterectomy or prior use of hormone therapy: mean treatment effects of −0.17 [−0.33, −0.02] and −0.25 [−0.42, −0.08], respectively, however this may be a chance finding. We are not able to address whether initiating hormone therapy during the menopause and maintaining therapy until any symptoms are passed affects cognitive function, either in the short or longer term.
CEE-based therapies produced no overall sustained benefit or risk to cognitive function when administered to postmenopausal women aged 50–55 years.
PMCID: PMC3844547  PMID: 23797469
7.  Subtypes of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Older Postmenopausal Women: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study 
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a transitional state between normal cognitive functioning and dementia. A proposed MCI typology1 classifies individuals by the type and extent of cognitive impairment, yet few studies have characterized or compared these subtypes. 447 women 65 years of age and older from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study2 were classified into the four MCI subgroups and a ‘no impairment’ group and compared on clinical, sociodemographic, and health variables.
82.1% of participants had a cognitive deficit in at least one domain with most (74.3%) having deficits in multiple cognitive domains. Only 4.3% had an isolated memory deficit, while 21.3% had an isolated non-memory deficit. Of the 112 women who met all MCI criteria examined, the most common subtype was amnestic multi-domain MCI (42.8%) followed by non-amnestic multiple domain MCI (26.7%), non-amnestic single domain (24.1%) and amnestic single domain MCI (6.3%). Subtypes were similar with respect to education, health status, smoking, depression and pre- and on-study use of hormone therapy.
Despite the attention it receives in the literature amnestic MCI is the least common type highlighting the importance of identifying and characterizing other non-amnestic and multi-domain subtypes. Further research is needed on the epidemiology of MCI subtypes, clinical and biological differences between them and rates for conversion to dementia.
PMCID: PMC2929315  PMID: 20473134
MCI; women; WHIMS; postmenopausal; cognition; dementia; hormone therapy
8.  Neuroanatomical target theory as a predictive model for radiation-induced cognitive decline 
Neurology  2013;80(8):747-753.
In a retrospective review to assess neuroanatomical targets of radiation-induced cognitive decline, dose volume histogram (DVH) analyses of specific brain regions of interest (ROI) are correlated to neurocognitive performance in 57 primary brain tumor survivors.
Neurocognitive assessment at baseline included Trail Making Tests A/B, a modified Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure, California or Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Digit Span, and Controlled Oral Word Association. DVH analysis was performed for multiple neuroanatomical targets considered to be involved in cognition. The %v10 (percent of ROI receiving 10 Gy), %v40, and %v60 were calculated for each ROI. Factor analysis was used to estimate global cognition based on a summary of performance on individual cognitive tests. Stepwise regression was used to determine which dose volume predicted performance on global factors and individual neurocognitive tests for each ROI.
Regions that predicted global cognitive outcomes at doses <60 Gy included the corpus callosum, left frontal white matter, right temporal lobe, bilateral hippocampi, subventricular zone, and cerebellum. Regions of adult neurogenesis primarily predicted cognition at %v40 except for the right hippocampus which predicted at %v10. Regions that did not predict global cognitive outcomes at any dose include total brain volume, frontal pole, anterior cingulate, right frontal white matter, and the right precentral gyrus.
Modeling of radiation-induced cognitive decline using neuroanatomical target theory appears to be feasible. A prospective trial is necessary to validate these data.
PMCID: PMC3589296  PMID: 23390169
9.  Intraindividual Variability in Domain-Specific Cognition and Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia 
Intraindividual variability among cognitive domains may predict dementia independently of interindividual differences in cognition. A multidomain cognitive battery was administered to 2305 older adult women (mean age 74 years) enrolled in an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative. Women were evaluated annually for probable dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) for an average of 5.3 years using a standardized protocol. Proportional hazards regression showed that lower baseline domain-specific cognitive scores significantly predicted MCI (N = 74), probable dementia (N = 45), and MCI or probable dementia combined (N = 101) and that verbal and figural memory predicted each outcome independently of all other cognitive domains. The baseline intraindividual standard deviation across test scores (IAV Cognitive Domains) significantly predicted probable dementia and this effect was attenuated by interindividual differences in verbal episodic memory. Slope increases in IAV Cognitive Domains across measurement occasions (IAV Time) explained additional risk for MCI and MCI or probable dementia, beyond that accounted for by interindividual differences in multiple cognitive measures, but risk for probable dementia was attenuated by mean decreases in verbal episodic memory slope. These findings demonstrate that within-person variability across cognitive domains both at baseline and longitudinally independently accounts for risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in support of the predictive utility of within-person variability.
PMCID: PMC3881440  PMID: 24454359
10.  Telephone interview for cognitive status (TICS) screening for clinical trials of physical activity and cognitive training: the seniors health and activity research program pilot (SHARP-P) study† 
International journal of geriatric psychiatry  2011;26(2):10.1002/gps.2503.
To examine the performance of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) for identifying participants appropriate for trials of physical activity and cognitive training interventions.
Volunteers (N = 343), ages 70–85 years, who were being recruited for a pilot clinical trial on approaches to prevent cognitive decline, were administered TICS and required to score ≥31 prior to an invitation to attend clinic-based assessments. The frequencies of contraindications for physical activity and cognitive training interventions were tallied for individuals grouped by TICS scores. Relationships between TICS scores and other measures of cognitive function were described by scatterplots and correlation coefficients.
Eligibility criteria to identify candidates who were appropriate candidates for the trial interventions excluded 51.7% of the volunteers with TICS<31. TICS scores above this range were not strongly related to cognition or attendance at screening visits, however overall enrollment yields were approximately half for participants with TICS = 31 versus TICS = 41, and increased in a graded fashion throughout the range of scores.
Use of TICS to define eligibility criteria in trials of physical activity and cognitive training interventions may not be worthwhile in that many individuals with low scores would already be eliminated by intervention-specific criteria and the relationship of TICS with clinic-based tests of cognitive function among appropriate candidates for these interventions may be weak. TICS may be most useful in these trials to identify candidates for oversampling in order to obtain a balanced cohort of participants at risk for cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC3832189  PMID: 21229597
clinical trial design; cognitive interventions; eligibility criteria
11.  Alzheimer's Disease Risk Assessment Using Large-Scale Machine Learning Methods 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e77949.
The goal of this work is to introduce new metrics to assess risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which we call AD Pattern Similarity (AD-PS) scores. These metrics are the conditional probabilities modeled by large-scale regularized logistic regression. The AD-PS scores derived from structural MRI and cognitive test data were tested across different situations using data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study. The scores were computed across groups of participants stratified by cognitive status, age and functional status. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to evaluate associations with the distribution of conversion times from mild cognitive impairment to AD. The performances of classifiers developed using data from different types of brain tissue were systematically characterized across cognitive status groups. We also explored the performance of anatomical and cognitive-anatomical composite scores generated by combining the outputs of classifiers developed using different types of data. In addition, we provide the AD-PS scores performance relative to other metrics used in the field including the Spatial Pattern of Abnormalities for Recognition of Early AD (SPARE-AD) index and total hippocampal volume for the variables examined.
PMCID: PMC3826736  PMID: 24250789
12.  Phase II Study of Ginkgo Biloba in Irradiated Brain Tumor Patients: Effect on Cognitive Function, Quality of Life, and Mood 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2012;109(2):357-363.
Ginkgo biloba has been reported to improve cognitive function in older adults and patients with Alzheimer’s disease and multi-infarct dementia. We conducted an open-label phase II study of this botanical product in symptomatic irradiated brain tumor survivors.
Eligibility criteria included: life expectancy ≥ 30 weeks, partial or whole brain radiation ≥ 6 months before enrollment, no imaging evidence of tumor progression in previous 3 months, or stable or decreasing steroid dose, and no brain tumor treatment planned while on study. The ginkgo biloba dose was 120 mg/day (40 mg t.i.d.) for 24 weeks followed by a 6-week washout period. Assessments performed at baseline, 12, 24 (end of treatment), and 30 weeks (end of washout) included KPS, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-Br), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE), Trail Making Test Parts A (TMT-A) and B (TMT-B), Digit Span Test (DST), Modified Rey Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF), California Verbal Learning Test Part II (CVLT-II), and the F-A-S Test.
Of the 34 patients enrolled on study, 23 (68%) completed 12 weeks of treatment and 19 (56%) completed 24 weeks of treatment. There were significant improvements at 24 weeks in: executive function (TMT-B) (p=0.007), attention/concentration (TMT-A) (p=0.002), and non-verbal memory (ROCF – immediate/delayed recall) (p=0.001/0.002), mood (p=.002), FACT brain subscale (p=0.001), and the FACT physical subscale (p=.003).
Some improvement in quality of life and cognitive function were noted with ginkgo biloba. However, treatment with ginkgo biloba was associated with a high dropout rate.
PMCID: PMC3752650  PMID: 22700031
ginkgo biloba; radiation; cognitive function; quality of life; brain tumors
13.  Is neighborhood racial/ethnic composition associated with depressive symptoms? The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2010;71(3):541-550.
The racial/ethnic composition of a neighborhood may be related to residents’ depressive symptoms through differential levels of neighborhood social support and/or stressors. We used the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to investigate cross-sectional associations of neighborhood racial/ethnic composition with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale in adults aged 45–84. The key exposure was a census-derived measure of the percentage of residents of the same racial/ethnic background in each participant’s census tract. Two-level multilevel models were used to estimate associations of neighborhood racial/ethnic composition with CES-D scores after controlling for age, income, marital status, education and nativity. We found that living in a neighborhood with a higher percentage of residents of the same race/ethnicity was associated with increased CES-D scores in African American men (p < 0.05), and decreased CES-D scores in Hispanic men and women and Chinese women, although these differences were not statistically significant. Models were further adjusted for neighborhood-level covariates (social cohesion, safety, problems, aesthetic quality and socioeconomic factors) derived from survey responses and census data. Adjusting for other neighborhood characteristics strengthened protective associations amongst Hispanics, but did not change the significant associations in African American men. These results demonstrate heterogeneity in the associations of race/ethnic composition with mental health and the need for further exploration of which aspects of neighborhood environments may contribute to these associations.
PMCID: PMC2922985  PMID: 20541303
Neighborhoods; Depressive symptoms; Mental health; Race/ethnicity; Ethnic density effect; USA
14.  Long Term Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogens Therapies on Domain-Specific Cognitive Function: Results from the Women's Health Initiative Study of Cognitive Aging (WHISCA) Extension 
Conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) therapies when initiated among older women have been shown to produce small decrements in global cognitive function. We are interested whether these persist after cessation and extend to specific cognitive domains.
Randomized controlled clinical trial
Fourteen clinical centers of the Women's Health Initiative
2,304 women aged 65-80 years and free of probable dementia at enrollment
0.625 mg/day of CEE, with or without medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA, 10 mg/day), and matching placebos
Annual administrations of a battery of cognitive tests during and following the trial
General linear models were used to compare on-trial and post-trial mean standardized test scores between treatment groups, with adjustment for baseline risk factors for cognitive impairment.
Assignment to CEE-based therapies was associated with small mean relative decrements in global and several domain-specific cognitive functions on-trial, which largely persisted through up to 4 years post-trial. The strongest statistical evidence was for global cognitive function: 0.07 standard deviation decrements both on-trial (p=0.007) and post-trial (p=0.01). Among domain specific scores, the mean relative decrements were slightly smaller, were less significant, and tended to be larger for CEE-alone therapy.
CEE-based therapies, when initiated after age 65 years, produce a small broad-based decrement in cognitive function that persists after their use is stopped. The differences in cognitive function however are small and would not be detectable or have clinical significance for an individual woman. Differences in effects among cognitive domains suggest that more than one mechanism may be involved.
PMCID: PMC2917208  PMID: 20649689
Postmenopausal hormone therapy; Cognitive function; Women's health
15.  Designing clinical trials for assessing the effects of cognitive training and physical activity interventions on cognitive outcomes: The Seniors Health and Activity Research Program Pilot (SHARP-P) Study, a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:27.
The efficacy of non-pharmacological intervention approaches such as physical activity, strength, and cognitive training for improving brain health has not been established. Before definitive trials are mounted, important design questions on participation/adherence, training and interventions effects must be answered to more fully inform a full-scale trial.
SHARP-P was a single-blinded randomized controlled pilot trial of a 4-month physical activity training intervention (PA) and/or cognitive training intervention (CT) in a 2 × 2 factorial design with a health education control condition in 73 community-dwelling persons, aged 70-85 years, who were at risk for cognitive decline but did not have mild cognitive impairment.
Intervention attendance rates were higher in the CT and PACT groups: CT: 96%, PA: 76%, PACT: 90% (p=0.004), the interventions produced marked changes in cognitive and physical performance measures (p≤0.05), and retention rates exceeded 90%. There were no statistically significant differences in 4-month changes in composite scores of cognitive, executive, and episodic memory function among arms. Four-month improvements in the composite measure increased with age among participants assigned to physical activity training but decreased with age for other participants (intervention*age interaction p = 0.01). Depending on the choice of outcome, two-armed full-scale trials may require fewer than 1,000 participants (continuous outcome) or 2,000 participants (categorical outcome).
Good levels of participation, adherence, and retention appear to be achievable for participants through age 85 years. Care should be taken to ensure that an attention control condition does not attenuate intervention effects. Depending on the choice of outcome measures, the necessary sample sizes to conduct four-year trials appear to be feasible.
Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00688155
PMCID: PMC3126708  PMID: 21615936
16.  The Relationship Between Cognitive Function and Physical Performance in Older Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study 
Cognitive function and physical performance are associated, but the common sequence of cognitive and physical decline remains unclear.
In the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) clinical trial, we examined associations at baseline and over a 6-year follow-up period between the Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) Examination and three physical performance measures (PPMs): gait speed (meters/second), chair stands (number of stands in 15 seconds), and grip strength (kilograms). Using mixed models, we examined the baseline 3MS as predictor of change in PPM, change in the 3MS as predictor of change in PPM, and baseline PPM as predictors of 3MS change.
Among 1,793 women (mean age = 70.3 years, 89% white, and mean 3MS score = 95.1), PPM were weakly correlated with 3MS—gait speed: r = .06, p = .02; chair stands: r = .09, p < .001; and grip strength: r = .10, p < .001. Baseline 3MS score was associated with subsequent PPM decline after adjustment for demographics, comorbid conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors. For every SD (4.2 points) higher 3MS score, 0.04 SD (0.04 m/s) less gait speed and 0.05 SD (0.29 kg) less grip strength decline is expected over 6 years (p ≤ .01 both). Changes in 3MS and PPM were associated, particularly with chair stands and grip strength (p < .003 both). Baseline PPMs were not associated with subsequent 3MS change.
Baseline global cognitive function and change in global cognitive function were associated with physical performance change, but baseline physical performance was not associated with cognitive change in this cohort. These analyses support the hypothesis that cognitive decline on average precedes or co-occurs with physical performance decline.
PMCID: PMC2822281  PMID: 19789197
Cognitive function; Physical performance; Cognition; Physical function
17.  Relative Effects of Tamoxifen, Raloxifene, and Conjugated Equine Estrogens on Cognition 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(3):371-379.
To compare the relative effects of conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), raloxifene, and tamoxifen therapies on cognition among women aged ≥65 years.
Annual Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) examinations were used to assess global cognitive function in the two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of CEE therapies of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) and the Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (CoSTAR). Analyses were limited to women who had 3MS testing at baseline and the first 3 years of follow-up and, because of potential ethnic-related differences between studies, to Caucasian women (WHIMS n = 6211, CoSTAR n = 250). Covariate adjustment was used to compare the postrandomization mean 3MS scores among the three active therapies with placebo therapy while controlling for differences between groups with respect to dementia risk factors.
At baseline, the average (SD) 3MS scores by group were 95.24 (4.28) for placebo, 95.19 (4.33) for CEE, 94.60 (4.76) for raloxifene, and 95.02 (4.03) for tamoxifen. Compared with placebo, each active therapy was associated with a small mean relative deficit in 3MS scores of ≤0.5 units, which was fairly consistent between women with and without prior hysterectomy. Relative deficits were slightly greater for tamoxifen (p = 0.001) and less marked for raloxifene (p = 0.06) and CEE (p = 0.02) therapies. Relative deficits appeared to be greater among women with lower baseline 3MS scores: p = 0.009 (tamoxifen), p = 0.08 (raloxifene), and p = 0.03 (CEE).
Although unmeasured differences between trials may have confounded analyses, these findings raise the possibility that both tamoxifen and raloxifene adversely affect cognitive function in older women; however, the magnitude of the effect is small, and the long-term consequences are unknown.
PMCID: PMC2867626  PMID: 20136553
18.  Ginkgo biloba for Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults 
The herbal product Ginkgo biloba is taken frequently with the intention of improving cognitive health in aging. However, evidence from adequately powered clinical trials is lacking regarding its effect on long-term cognitive functioning.
To determine whether G biloba slows the rates of global or domain-specific cognitive decline in older adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants
The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 3069 community-dwelling participants aged 72 to 96 years, conducted in 6 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008, with a median follow-up of 6.1 years.
Twice-daily dose of 120-mg extract of G biloba (n=1545) or identical-appearing placebo (n=1524).
Main Outcome Measures
Rates of change over time in the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MSE), in the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog), and in neuropsychological domains of memory, attention, visual-spatial construction, language, and executive functions, based on sums of z scores of individual tests.
Annual rates of decline in z scores did not differ between G biloba and placebo groups in any domains, including memory (0.043; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.034-0.051 vs 0.041; 95% CI, 0.032-0.050), attention (0.043; 95% CI, 0.037-0.050 vs 0.048; 95% CI, 0.041-0.054), visuospatial abilities (0.107; 95% CI, 0.097-0.117 vs 0.118; 95% CI, 0.108-0.128), language (0.045; 95% CI, 0.037-0.054 vs 0.041; 95% CI, 0.033-0.048), and executive functions (0.092; 95% CI, 0.086-0.099 vs 0.089; 95% CI, 0.082-0.096). For the 3MSE and ADAS-Cog, rates of change varied by baseline cognitive status (mild cognitive impairment), but there were no differences in rates of change between treatment groups (for 3MSE, P=.71; for ADAS-Cog, P=.97). There was no significant effect modification of treatment on rate of decline by age, sex, race, education, APOE*E4 allele, or baseline mild cognitive impairment (P>.05).
Compared with placebo, the use of G biloba, 120 mg twice daily, did not result in less cognitive decline in older adults with normal cognition or with mild cognitive impairment.
Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00010803
PMCID: PMC2832285  PMID: 20040554
19.  Psychiatric Disorders and Cognitive Dysfunction Among Older, Postmenopausal Women: Results From the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study 
To estimate the frequency of depressive symptoms and selected psychiatric disorders in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) cohort and related them to cognitive syndromes.
WHIMS was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled prevention clinical trial examining whether opposed and unopposed hormone therapy reduced the risk of dementia in healthy postmenopausal women. Participants scoring below a designated cutpoint on a cognitive screener received a comprehensive neuropsychiatric workup and adjudicated outcome of no cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, or probable dementia.
Seven thousand four hundred seventy-nine WHIMS participants between age 65 and 79 years and free of dementia at the time of enrollment in WHIMS. Five hundred twenty-one unique participants contributed complete data required for these analyses.
Depressive symptoms were measured with the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale and the presence of selected psychiatric disorders (major depression, generalized anxiety, and panic and alcohol abuse) was made using the PRIME-MD.
The 18% of women had at least one psychiatric disorder with depression being the most common (16%) followed by general anxiety or panic (6%) and alcohol abuse (1%). Depression and the presence of a psychiatric disorder were associated with impaired cognitive status. Participants having a psychiatric disorder were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with cognitive impairment as those with no psychiatric disorder (odds ratio = 2.06, 95% confidence interval = 1.17–3.60). Older age, white race, and diabetes were also associated with cognitive impairment.
The frequency of a psychiatric disorder is associated with poorer cognitive functioning among older women enrolled in WHIMS. That approximately one in five women had a probable psychiatric disorder, most typically depression, highlights the need for greater detection and treatment efforts in this population.
PMCID: PMC2939041  PMID: 20104074
Psychiatric disorders; cognition; MCI; risk of dementia; comorbidity
Aging & mental health  2009;13(2):171-182.
To identify, characterize and compare the frequency of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) subtypes at baseline in a large, late-life cohort (N=3,063) recruited into a dementia prevention trial.
A retrospective, data-algorithmic approach was used to classify participants as cognitively normal or MCI with corresponding subtype (e.g., amnestic vs. non-amnestic, single domain vs. multiple domain) based on a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological test scores, with and without Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) global score included in the algorithm.
Overall, 15.7% of cases (n=480) were classified as MCI. Amnestic MCI was characterized as unilateral memory impairment (i.e., only verbal or only visual memory impaired) or bilateral memory impairment (i.e., both verbal and visual memory impaired). All forms of amnestic MCI were almost twice as frequent as non-amnestic MCI (10.0% vs. 5.7%). Removing the CDR = 0.5 (“questionable dementia”) criterion resulted in a near doubling of the overall MCI frequency to 28.1%.
Combining CDR and cognitive test data to classify participants as MCI resulted in overall MCI and amnestic MCI frequencies consistent with other large community-based studies, most of which relied on the “gold standard” of individual case review and diagnostic consensus. The present data-driven approach may prove to be an effective alternative for use in future large-scale dementia prevention trials.
PMCID: PMC2767255  PMID: 19347684
MCI; Neuropsychology; Dementia Prevention Trials

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