To evaluate objective physical performance measures as predictors of survival and subsequent disability in older patients with cancer.
Longitudinal cohort study.
Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study.
Four hundred twenty-nine individuals diagnosed with cancer during the first 6 years of follow-up of the Health ABC Study.
The associations between precancer measures of physical performance (20-m usual gait speed, 400-m long-distance corridor walk (LDCW), and grip strength) and overall survival and a short-term outcome of 2-year progression to disability or death were evaluated. Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models, stratified for metastatic disease, respectively, were used for outcomes.
Mean age was 77.2, 36.1% were women, and 45.7% were black. Faster 20-m usual walking speed was associated with a lower risk of death in the metastatic group (hazard ratio = 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.79–0.99) and lower 2-year progression to disability or death in the nonmetastatic group (odds ratio (OR) = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.64–0.94). Ability to complete the 400-m LDCW was associated with lower 2-year progression to disability or death in the nonmetastatic group (OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.10–0.62). There were no associations between grip strength and disability or death.
Lower extremity physical performance tests (usual gait speed and 400-m LDCW) were associated with survival and 2-year progression to disability or death. Objective physical performance measures may help inform pretreatment evaluations in older adults with cancer.
physical performance; elderly; cancer; disability; survival
While several studies report an association between prevalent diabetes mellitus (DM) and cognitive impairment, less is known about incident DM in late life and cognitive decline. Glycemic control among elders with DM may also be associated with cognitive function, but findings are inconsistent.
To determine if prevalent and incident DM increases risk of cognitive decline, and if, among elders with DM, poor glucose control is related to worse cognitive performance.
Prospective cohort study.
Health Aging and Body Composition Study at two community clinics.
A total of 3,069 elders (mean age 74.2 years; 42% black; 52% female).
Main Outcome Measures
Participants completed the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) at baseline and selected intervals over 10 years. DM status was determined at baseline and during follow-up visits. Glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was measured at year 1 (baseline), 4, 6, and 10 from fasting whole blood.
At baseline 717 (23.4%) participants had prevalent DM and 2352 (76.6%) were without diabetes, 159 of whom developed incident DM during follow-up. Participants with prevalent DM had lower baseline test scores than participants without DM (3MS: 88.8 vs. 90.9; DSST: 32.5 vs 36.3, respectively; |t|=6.09, p=0.001 for both tests). Results from mixed-effects models showed a similar pattern for 9-year decline (3MS: −6.0 vs. −4.5 point decline; |t|=2.66, p=0.008; DSST: −7.9 vs. −5.7, point decline; |t|=3.69, p=0.001, respectively). Participants with incident DM tended to have baseline and 9-year decline scores between the other two groups but were not statistically different from the group without diabetes. Multivariate adjustment for demographics and medical co-morbidities produced similar results. Among participants with prevalent DM, HbA1c level was associated with lower average mean cognitive scores (3MS p for overall=0.003; DSST p for overall=0.04), even after multivariate adjustment.
Among well-functioning older adults, DM and poor glucose control among those with DM are associated with worse cognitive function and greater decline. This suggests severity of DM may contribute to accelerated cognitive aging.
Characterization of long-term health trajectory in older individuals is important for proactive health management. However, the relative prognostic value of information contained in clinical profiles of nonfrail older adults is often unclear.
We screened 825 phenotypic and genetic measures evaluated during the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (Health ABC) baseline visit (3,067 men and women aged 70–79). Variables that best predicted mortality over 13 years of follow-up were identified using 10-fold cross-validation.
Mortality was most strongly associated with low Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) score (DSST<25; 21.9% of cohort; hazard ratio [HR]=1.87±0.06) and elevated serum cystatin C (≥1.30 mg/mL; 12.1% of cohort; HR=2.25±0.07). These variables predicted mortality better than 823 other measures, including baseline age and a 45-variable health deficit index. Given elevated cystatin C (≥1.30 mg/mL), mortality risk was further increased by high serum creatinine, high abdominal visceral fat density, and smoking history (2.52≤HR ≤3.73). Given a low DSST score (<25) combined with low-to-moderate cystatin C (<1.30 mg/mL), mortality risk was highest among those with elevated plasma resistin and smoking history (1.90≤HR≤2.02).
DSST score and serum cystatin C warrant priority consideration for the evaluation of mortality risk in older individuals. Both variables, taken individually, predict mortality better than chronological age or a health deficit index in well-functioning older adults (ages 70–79). DSST score and serum cystatin C can thus provide evidence-based tools for geriatric assessment.
Maintaining cognitive function protects older adults from developing functional decline. This study aims to identify the neuroimaging correlates of maintenance of higher global cognition as measured by the Modified Mini Mental State Test (3MS) score.
Repeated 3MS measures from 1997–98 through 2006–07 and magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion tensor in 2006–07 were obtained in a biracial cohort of 258 adults free from dementia (mean age 82.9 years, 56% women, 42% blacks). Participants were classified as having shown either maintenance (3MS slope>0) or decline (3MS slopeb1 SD below the mean) of cognition using linear mixed models. Measures of interest were white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHv) from total brain, volume of the gray matter (GMv) and microstructure (mean diffusivity, MD) for total brain and for brain areas known to be related to memory and executive control function: medial temporal area (hippocampus, parahippocampus and entorhinal cortex), cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex.
Differences between cognitive maintainers (n=153) and non-maintainers (n=107) were significant for GMv of the medial temporal area (35.8%, p=0.004) and lower MD of the cingulate cortex (37.9%, p=0.008), but not for other neuroimaging markers. In multivariable regression models adjusted for age, race, WMHv and GMV from the total brain and vascular conditions, each standard deviation of GMv of the medial temporal area and each standard deviation of MD of the cingulate cortex were associated with a nearly 4 times greater probability (odds ratio [standard deviation]: 3.80 [1.16, 12.44]) and a 34% lower probability (0.66, [0.46, 0.97]) of maintaining cognitive function, respectively. In these models neither WMHv nor GMv from total brain were significantly associated with probability of maintaining cognitive function.
Preserving the volume of the medial temporal area and the microstructure of the cingulate cortex may contribute to maintaining cognitive function late in life.
The impact of evidence-based guidelines and controlled trial data on use of cholesterol-lowering medications in older adults is unclear.
To examine whether utilization patterns of cholesterol-lowering medications in community-dwelling older adults changed following the release of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines and results from the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk in 2002.
Community dwelling elders enrolled in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study in 1997/1998, and followed for up to 11 years. An interrupted time-series analysis with multivariable generalized estimating equations (GEE) was used to examine level and trend changes in cholesterol-lowering medication use before and after 2002, adjusting for sociodemographic, health-related behaviors and health status.
Cholesterol-lowering medication use increased nearly 3-fold from 14.9% in 1997/1998 to 42.6% in 2007/2008 with statins representing the most common class used (87%–94%). Multivariable GEE results revealed no difference in the level of cholesterol-lowering medication use after 2002 (adjusted odds ratio: 0.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.89–1.02). Multivariable GEE results revealed trends changes in the rate of increase in cholesterol-lowering medication declined after 2002 (adjusted ratio of odds ratios 0.92, 95% CI 0.89–0.95).
The use of cholesterol-lowering medication increased substantially over a decade in community dwelling elders, but was not related to a change in level or trend following the release of the guidelines and evidence-based data.
aged; anticholesteremic agents; hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors; statins; drug utilization
To examine the association of fast-adapting receptor-mediated vibrotactile sensitivity and slow-adapting receptor-mediated pressure sensitivity with self-selected usual gait speed and gait speed over a challenging narrow (20 cm wide) course.
Participants from the population-based older cohort of the Health ABC study were included (n = 1721; age: 76.4 ± 2.8 yrs). Usual gait speed over 6 m and gait speed over a 6-m narrow course were measured. Vibration perception threshold (100 Hz) was measured on the plantar surface, and monofilament testing (1.4 and 10 g) was performed on the dorsum of the great toe. Covariates including knee extensor torque, standing balance, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, knee pain, depressive symptoms, high fasting glucose levels, and peripheral arterial disease were evaluated.
Vibrotactile and monofilament sensitivity were significantly worse in slower gait speed groups in both walking conditions (P < 0.001 to P = 0.015). Adjusting for covariates, vibrotactile (P < 0.001) but not monofilament sensitivity (P = 0.655) was independently associated with self-selected normal gait speed. Neither sensory function was associated with narrow-base gait speed.
In the elderly, poor lower limb vibrotactile sensitivity measured on the plantar surface of the great toe, but not the pressure sensitivity as measured by monofilament testing on the dorsum of the great toe, is independently associated with slower self-selected normal gait speed. Narrow-based walking seems to depend on other neuromuscular mechanisms.
Aging; Gait Speed; Cutaneous Vibration Sensitivity; Monofilament Sensitivity
Both subclinical hypothyroidism and the metabolic syndrome have been associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease events. It is unknown if the prevalence and incidence of metabolic syndrome is higher as TSH levels increase, or in individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism. We sought to determine the association between thyroid function and the prevalence and incidence of the metabolic syndrome in a cohort of older adults.
Data was analyzed from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, a prospective cohort of 3,075 community-dwelling US adults.
2,119 participants with measured TSH and data on metabolic syndrome components were included in the analysis.
TSH was measured by immunoassay. Metabolic syndrome was defined per revised ATP III criteria.
At baseline, 684 participants met criteria for metabolic syndrome. At 6yr follow-up, incident metabolic syndrome developed in 239 individuals. In fully adjusted models, each unit increase in TSH was associated with a 3% increase in the odds of prevalent metabolic syndrome (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.06, p=0.02), and the association was stronger for TSH within the normal range (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.30, p=0.02). Subclinical hypothyroidism with a TSH>10mIU/L was significantly associated with increased odds of prevalent metabolic syndrome (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0–5.0, p=0.04); the odds of incident MetS was similar (OR 2.2), but the confidence interval was wide (0.6–7.5).
Higher TSH levels and subclinical hypothyroidism with a TSH>10 mIU/L are associated with increased odds of prevalent but not incident metabolic syndrome.
Thyroid Function; Metabolic Syndrome; Subclinical Hypothyroidism
Little is known about the simultaneous effect of socioeconomic status (SES), psychosocial, and health-related factors on race differences in mortality in older adults.
This study examined the association between race and mortality and the role of SES, health insurance, psychosocial factors, behavioral factors, and health-related factors in explaining these differences.
Data consisted of 2,938 adults participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study. Mortality was assessed over 8 years.
SES differences accounted for 60% of the racial differences in all-cause mortality; behavioral factors and self-rated health further reduced the disparity. The racial differences in coronary heart disease mortality were completely explained by SES. Health insurance and behavioral factors accounted for some, but not all, of the race differences in cancer mortality.
Race-related risk factors for mortality may differ by the underlying cause of mortality.
Race; SES; Behavior; Psychosocial; Mortality; Older adults; Aging
Stiffness of the central arteries in aging may contribute to cerebral microvascular disease independent of hypertension and other vascular risk factors. Few studies of older adults have evaluated the association of central arterial stiffness with longitudinal cognitive decline.
We evaluated associations of aortic pulse wave velocity (centimeters per second), a measure of central arterial stiffness, with cognitive function and decline in 552 participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study Cognitive Vitality Substudy (mean age ± SD = 73.1 ± 2.7 years, 48% men and 42% black). Aortic pulse wave velocity was assessed at baseline via Doppler-recorded carotid and femoral pulse waveforms. Global cognitive function, verbal memory, psychomotor, and perceptual speed were evaluated over 6 years.
After adjustment for demographics, vascular risk factors, and chronic conditions, each 1 SD higher aortic pulse wave velocity (389 cm/s) was associated with poorer cognitive function: −0.11 SD for global function (SE = 0.04, p < .01), −0.09 SD for psychomotor speed (SE = 0.04, p = .03), and −0.12 SD for perceptual speed (SE = 0.04, p < .01). Higher aortic pulse wave velocity was also associated with greater decline in psychomotor speed, defined as greater than 1 SD more than the mean change (odds ratio = 1.42 [95% confidence interval = 1.06, 1.90]) but not with verbal memory or longitudinal decline in global function, verbal memory, or perceptual speed. Results were consistent with mixed models of decline in each cognitive test.
In well-functioning older adults, central arterial stiffness may contribute to cognitive decline independent of hypertension and other vascular risk factors.
Aging; Arterial stiffness; Cognitive decline
To examine the prevalence and correlates of non-opioid and opioid analgesic use and descriptively evaluate potential undertreatment in a sample of community-dwelling elders with symptomatic knee and/or hip osteoarthritis (OA).
Health, Aging and Body Composition Study
652 participants attending the year 6 visit (2002-03) with symptomatic knee and/or hip OA.
Analgesic use was defined as taking ≥ 1 non-opioid and/or ≥ 1 opioid receptor agonist. Non-opioid and opioid doses were standardized across all agents by dividing the daily dose used by the minimum effective analgesic daily dose. Inadequate pain control was defined as severe/extreme OA pain in the past 30 days from a modified Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).
Just over half (51.4%) reported taking at least one non-opioid analgesic and approximately 10% were taking an opioid, most (88.5%) of whom also took a non-opioid. One in five participants (19.3%) had inadequate pain control, 39% of whom were using < 1 standardized daily dose of either a non-opioid or opioid analgesic. In adjusted analyses, severe/extreme OA pain was significantly associated with both non-opioid (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.44; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]=1.49-3.99) and opioid (AOR=2.64; 95% CI, 1.26-5.53) use.
Although older adults with severe/extreme knee and/or hip OA pain are more likely to take analgesics than those with less severe pain, a sizable proportion take less than therapeutic doses and thus may be undertreated. Further research is needed to examine barriers to optimal analgesic use.
Aged; Analgesic; Osteoarthritis
Objective methods to measure daily energy expenditure in studies of aging are needed. We sought to determine the accuracy of total energy expenditure (TEE) and activity energy expenditure (AEE) estimates from the SenseWear Pro armband (SWA) using software versions 6.1 (SWA 6.1) and 5.1 (SWA 5.1) relative to criterion methods in free-living older adults.
Participants (n = 19, mean age 82.0 years) wore a SWA for a mean ± SD 12.5 ± 1.1 days, including while sleeping. During this same period, criterion values for TEE were assessed with doubly labeled water and for resting metabolic rate (RMR) with indirect calorimetry. AEE was calculated as 0.9 TEE – RMR.
For TEE, there was no difference in mean ± SD values from doubly labeled water (2,040 ± 472 kcal/day) versus SWA 6.1 (2,012 ± 497 kcal/day, p = .593) or SWA 5.1 (2,066 ± 474 kcal/day, p = .606); individual values were highly correlated between methods (SWA 6.1 r = .893, p < .001; SWA 5.1 r = .901, p < .001) and demonstrated strong agreement (SWA 6.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .896; SWA 5.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .904). For AEE, mean values from SWA 6.1 (427 ± 304 kcal/day) were lower by 26.8% than criterion values (583 ± 242 kcal/day, p = .003), and mean values from SWA 5.1 (475 ± 299 kcal/day) were lower by 18.5% than criterion values (p = .021); however, individual values were highly correlated between methods (SWA 6.1 r = .760, p < .001; SWA 5.1 r = .786, p < .001) and demonstrated moderate agreement (SWA 6.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .645; SWA 5.1 intraclass correlation coefficient = .720). Bland–Altman plots identified no systematic bias for TEE or AEE.
Acceptable levels of agreement were observed between SWA and criterion measurements of TEE and AEE in older adults.
Accelerometer; Activity monitor; Physical activity; Aged; DLW
Background. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with insulin resistance (IR). Prior studies have found that in individuals with CKD, leptin is associated with fat mass but resistin is not and the associations with adiponectin are conflicting. This suggests that the mechanism and factors associated with IR in CKD may differ.
Methods. Of the 2418 individuals without reported diabetes at baseline, participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study, a study in older individuals aged 70–79 years, 15.6% had CKD defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73m2 based on cystatin C. IR was defined as the upper quartile of the homeostasis model assessment. The association of visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat, percent body fat, muscle fat, lipids, inflammatory markers and adiponectin were tested with logistic regression. Interactions were checked to assess whether the factors associated with IR were different in those with and without CKD.
Results. Individuals with IR had a lower eGFR (80.7 ± 20.9 versus 75.6 ± 19.6, P < 0.001). After multivariable adjustment, eGFR (odds ratio per 10 mL/min/1.73m2 0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.87–0.98) and CKD (1.41, 1.04–1.92) remained independently associated with IR. In individuals with and without CKD, the significant predictors of IR were male sex, black race, higher visceral fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat and triglycerides. In individuals without CKD, IR was associated with lower high-density lipoprotein and current nonsmoking status in multivariate analysis. In contrast, among individuals with CKD, interleukin-6 (IL-6) was independently associated with IR. There was a significant interaction of eGFR with race and IL-6 with a trend for adionectin but no significant interactions with CKD (P > 0.1). In the fully adjusted model, there was a trend for an interaction with adiponectin for eGFR (P = 0.08) and significant for CKD (P = 0.04 ), where adiponectin was associated with IR in those without CKD but not in those with CKD.
Conclusions. In mainly Stage 3 CKD, kidney function is associated with IR; except for adiponectin, the correlates of IR are similar in those with and without CKD.
chronic kidney disease; cystatin C; insulin resistance; subcutaneous fat
Previous cross-sectional studies demonstrate positive associations of fat-free mass and negative associations of centrally distributed fat deposits with respiratory function in older adults. Few studies have evaluated whether greater losses of muscle and increases in fat are associated with more rapid decline in respiratory function in aging.
Nine hundred and fifty-seven men and 1,024 women aged, respectively, 73.6 ± 2.8 years and 73.2 ± 2.8 years at baseline were followed for 5 years. Body weight, waist circumference, bone mineral density, fat-free mass, fat mass and fat mass percentage as measured by DXA, abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue, thigh muscle area, thigh intermuscular fat by CT and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were evaluated at baseline and after 5-years follow-up.
Cross-sectional analyses showed that height and thigh muscle area were positively and visceral adipose tissue negatively related to FEV1 and FVC. Increase in fat mass over five years was associated with concurrent FEV1 and FVC decline. In analyses stratified by weight-change categories, men and women who gained weight (vs stable/lost weight) had more rapid declines in FEV1 and FVC.
In this well-functioning cohort, less muscle and greater abdominal fat were each associated with poorer lung spirometry cross-sectionally, whereas increase in fat mass over 5 years was associated with concurrent FEV1 and FVC decline. Weight gain and accompanying fat deposition may accelerate age-related declines in respiratory function.
Aging; Lung function; Body composition
Guidelines for the prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) recommend use of Framingham-based risk scores that were developed in white middle-aged populations. It remains unclear whether and how CHD risk prediction might be improved among older adults. We aimed to compare the prognostic performance of the Framingham risk score (FRS), directly and after recalibration, with refit functions derived from the present cohort, as well as to assess the utility of adding other routinely available risk parameters to FRS.
Among 2193 black and white older adults (mean age, 73.5 years) without pre-existing cardiovascular disease from the Health ABC cohort, we examined adjudicated CHD events, defined as incident myocardial infarction, CHD death, and hospitalization for angina or coronary revascularization.
During 8-year follow-up, 351 participants experienced CHD events. The FRS poorly discriminated between persons who experienced CHD events vs. not (C-index: 0.577 in women; 0.583 in men) and underestimated absolute risk prediction by 51% in women and 8% in men. Recalibration of the FRS improved absolute risk prediction, particulary for women. For both genders, refitting these functions substantially improved absolute risk prediction, with similar discrimination to the FRS. Results did not differ between whites and blacks. The addition of lifestyle variables, waist circumference and creatinine did not improve risk prediction beyond risk factors of the FRS.
The FRS underestimates CHD risk in older adults, particularly in women, although traditional risk factors remain the best predictors of CHD. Re-estimated risk functions using these factors improve accurate estimation of absolute risk.
Although diabetes mellitus is implicated in susceptibility to infection, the association of diabetes with the subsequent course and outcome is unclear.
Design and setting
Retrospective analysis of two multicenter cohorts. We determined the association of pre-existing diabetes on the host immune response, acute organ function, and mortality in patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the GenIMS study (n=1895) and on mortality following either CAP or non-infectious hospitalizations in the population-based cohort study, Health ABC (n=1639).
Mortality rate within first year, risk of organ dysfunction, and immune responses, including circulating inflammatory (tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, interleukin-10), coagulation (Factor IX, thrombin-antithrombin complexes, antithrombin), fibrinolysis (plasminogen-activator inhibitor-1, and D-dimer), and cell-surface markers (CD120a, CD120b, HLA-DR, TLR-2 and TLR-4).
In GenIMS, diabetes increased mortality rate within first year after CAP (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR]=1.41, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.12–1.76, p=0.002), even after adjusting for pre-existing cardiovascular and renal disease (adjusted HR=1.3, CI=1.03–1.65, p=0.02). In Health ABC, diabetes increased mortality rate within first year following CAP hospitalization, but not after hospitalization for non-infectious illnesses (significant interaction for diabetes and reason for hospitalization [p=0.04]; HR for diabetes on mortality over first year after CAP 1.87, CI=0.76–4.6, p=0.16 and after non-infectious hospitalization=1.16, CI=0.8–1.6, p=0.37). In GenIMS, immediate immune response was similar, as evidenced by similar circulating immune marker levels in the emergency department and during the first week. Those with diabetes had higher risk of acute kidney injury during hospitalization (39.3% vs. 31.7%, p=0.005) and they were more likely to die due to cardiovascular and kidney disease (34.4% vs. 26.8% and 10.4% vs. 4.5%, p=0.03).
Pre-existing diabetes was associated with a higher risk of death following CAP. The mechanism is not due to an altered immune response, at least as measured by a broad panel of circulating and cell surface markers, but may be due to worsening of pre-existing cardiovascular and kidney disease.
To determine the extent to which disease-related symptoms and impairments, which constitute measures of disease severity or targets of therapy, account for the associations between chronic diseases and universal health outcomes.
Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) and Health ABC.
5,654 CHS, and 2,706 Health ABC, members.
Diseases included heart failure (HF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and cognitive impairment. The universal health outcomes included self-rated health, basic and instrumental activities of daily living (BADLs-IADLs), and death. Disease-related symptoms/impairments included HF symptoms and ejection fraction (EF) for HF; Dyspnea Scale and FEV1 for COPD; joint pain for osteoarthritis, and executive function for cognitive impairment.
The diseases were associated with the universal health outcomes (p<0.001) except osteoarthritis with death (both cohorts) and cognitive impairment with self-rated health (Health ABC). Symptoms/impairments accounted for ≥30% of each disease’s effect on the universal health outcomes. In CHS, for example, HF, compared with no HF, was associated with one fewer (0.918) BADLs-IADL performed without difficulty; 27% of this effect was accounted for by HF symptoms, only 5% by EF. The hazard ratio for death with HF was 6.5 (95% CI, 4.7, 8.9) with 40% accounted for by EF and only 14% by HF symptoms.
Disease-related symptoms/impairments accounted for much of the significant associations between the 4 chronic diseases and the universal health outcomes. Results support considering universal health outcomes as common metrics across diseases in clinical decision-making, perhaps by targeting the disease-related symptoms/impairments that contribute most strongly to the effect of the disease on the universal health outcomes.
chronic diseases; universal health outcomes; patient-reported outcomes; clinical decision-making
Depression has been hypothesized to result in abdominal obesity through the accumulation of visceral fat. No large study has tested this hypothesis longitudinally.
To examine whether depressive symptoms predict an increase in abdominal obesity in a large population-based sample of well-functioning older persons.
The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study, with 5 years of follow-up.
Community-dwelling older persons residing in the areas surrounding Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee.
2088 well-functioning white and black persons aged 70–79 years.
Main Outcome Measures
Baseline depression was defined as a Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) score of ≥ 16. At baseline and after 5 years, overall obesity measures included body mass index and percent body fat (measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry). Abdominal obesity measures included waist circumference, sagittal diameter, and visceral fat (measured by computed tomography).
After adjustment for sociodemographics, lifestyle, diseases and overall obesity, baseline depression was associated with a 5-year increase in sagittal diameter (β=.054, p=.01) and visceral fat (β=.080, p=.001).
This study shows that depressive symptoms result in an increase in abdominal obesity, independent of overall obesity, suggesting that there may be specific pathophysiological mechanisms which link depression with visceral fat accumulation. These results might also help explain why depression increases risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Although several cross-sectional studies have linked obesity and depression, less is known about their longitudinal association and about the relative influence of obesity subtypes. We prospectively examined whether (abdominal) obesity increased the risk of onset of depression in a population-based sample of older persons.
Participants were 2540 non-depressed well-functioning white and black persons, aged 70–79 years, enrolled in the Health ABC Study, an ongoing prospective community-based cohort study. Overall obesity was assessed by body mass index and percent body fat (measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), whereas abdominal obesity measures included waist circumference, sagittal diameter, and visceral fat (measured by computer tomography). Onset of significant depressive symptoms was defined as a Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression 10-item score ≥ 10 at any annual follow-up over 5 years and/or new antidepressant medication use. Persistent depression was defined as depression at two consecutive follow-up visits.
Over 5 years, significant depressive symptoms emerged in 23.7% of initially non-depressed persons. In men, both overall (BMI: HR per SD increase=1.20, 95%CI=1.03–1.40) and abdominal obesity (visceral fat: HR per SD increase=1.19, 95%CI=1.07–1.33) predicted onset of depressive symptoms after adjustment for sociodemographics. When BMI and visceral fat were adjusted for each other, only visceral fat was significantly associated with depression onset (HR=1.18, 95%CI=1.04–1.34). Stronger associations were found for persistent depressive symptoms. No associations were found in women.
This study shows that obesity, in particular visceral fat, increases the risk of onset of significant depressive symptoms in men. These results suggest that specific mechanisms might relate visceral fat to the onset of depression.
(abdominal) obesity; visceral fat; depression; older persons; longitudinal
This study examined the association of physical fitness, as assessed by ability and time to complete a 400-meter walk, on changes in body composition and muscle strength over a subsequent 7-year period.
Prospective observational cohort study
Memphis, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2,949 black and white men and women aged 70-79 participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study.
Body composition (fat and bone-free lean mass) was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in years 1-6, and 8. Knee extension strength was measured with isokinetic dynamometry and grip strength with isometric dynamometry in years 1,2,4,6, and 8.
Compared to very fit men and women at baseline, less fit people had a higher weight, higher total percent fat, and lower total percent lean mass (p<0.01). Additionally, the least fit lost significantly more weight, fat mass, and lean mass over time compared to the very fit (p<0.01). Very fit people had the highest grip strength and knee extensor strength at baseline and follow-up; the decline in muscle strength was similar in every fitness group.
Low fitness in old age was associated with greater weight loss and loss of lean mass relative to having high fitness. Despite having lower muscle strength, the rate of decline in the least fit persons was similar to the most fit. In clinical practice, a long distance walk test as a measure of fitness might be useful to identify people at risk for these adverse health outcomes.
body composition; aging; fitness; muscle strength; muscle mass
To examine the association between strength, function, lean mass, muscle density and risk of hospitalization.
Prospective cohort stud
Two U.S. clinical centers
Adults aged 70 – 80 years (N=3,011) from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.
Measures included grip strength; knee extension strength; lean mass; walking speed; chair stand pace. Thigh computed tomography scans assessed muscle area and density (a proxy for muscle fat infiltration). Hospitalizations were confirmed by local review of medical records. Negative binomial regression models estimated incident rate ratios (IRRs) of hospitalization for race/sex specific quartiles of each muscle/function parameter separately. Multivariate models adjusted for age, body mass index, health status and coexisting medical conditions.
During an average 4.7 years of follow-up, 1,678 (55.7%) participants experienced ≥1 hospitalization. Participants in the lowest quartile of muscle density were more likely to be subsequently hospitalized (multivariate IRR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.73) compared to the highest quartile. Similarly, participants with the weakest grip strength were at increased risk of hospitalization (MIRR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.30, 1.78, Q1 vs. Q4). Comparable results were seen for knee strength, walking pace and chair stands pace. Lean mass and muscle area were not associated with risk of hospitalization.
Weak strength, poor function and low muscle density, but not muscle size or lean mass, were associated with an increased risk of hospitalization. Interventions to reduce the disease burden associated with sarcopenia should focus on increasing muscle strength and improving physical function rather than simply increasing lean mass.
hospitalization; lean mass; physical function; muscle fat infiltration; walking speed
To examine the association of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors with age-associated hearing loss, in a cohort of older black and white adults.
Cross-sectional cohort study
The Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study; A community-based cohort study of older adults from Pittsburgh, PA and Memphis TN.
2,049 well-functioning adults (mean age: 77.5 years; 37% black)
Pure-tone audiometry and history of clinical CVD were obtained at the 4th annual follow-up visit. Pure-tone averages in decibels reflecting low frequencies (250, 500, and 1000 Hz) middle frequencies (500, 1000, and 2000 Hz) and high frequencies (2000, 4000, and 8000Hz) were calculated for each ear. CVD risk factors, aortic pulse-wave velocity, and ankle-arm index were obtained at the study baseline.
In gender-stratified models, after adjustment for age, race, study site and occupational noise exposure, risk factors associated with poorer hearing sensitivity among men included higher triglyceride levels, higher resting heart rate and history of smoking. Among women, poorer hearing sensitivity was associated with higher BMI, higher resting heart rate, faster pulse-wave velocity, and low ankle-arm index.
Modifiable risk factors for CVD may play a role in the development of age-related hearing loss.
hearing; presbycusis; race; cardiovascular disease; pulse wave velocity
Although caregivers report more stress than non-caregivers, few studies have found greater health decline in older caregivers. We hypothesized that caregivers may be more physically active than non-caregivers, which may protect them from health decline.
To evaluate total, and race- and gender-specific risk of mortality and functional decline in elderly caregivers versus non-caregivers, and whether these associations were mediated by total physical activity (including daily routine, leisure-time exercise, and caregiving activity).
Design and setting
The Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study, a cohort study of 3075 healthy adults, aged 70–79 years in 1997–1998 who resided in Memphis, Tennessee or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and were followed through their eighth year of participation.
Participants were classified as caregivers (n=680, 22%) or non-caregivers (n=2369) if they reported providing “regular care or assistance for a child or a disabled or sick adult”.
Main Outcome Measure
All-cause mortality and incident mobility limitation, defined as reported difficulty walking ¼ mile or climbing 10 steps on two consecutive semi-annual contacts.
Overall, 20.6% of caregivers died and 50.9% developed mobility limitation, versus 22.0% and 48.9% of non-caregivers, respectively. Associations with health outcomes differed by race and gender. Mortality and mobility limitation rates were 1.5 times higher in white caregivers compared to non-caregivers (e.g., among white females, adjusted hazards ratio for mortality, HR = 1.6, 1.0–2.5), but were lower in black female caregivers versus non-caregivers (e.g., HR for mortality = 0.9, 0.5–1.4). Physical activity mediated these associations in most race-gender groups. High-intensity caregivers (i.e., spending ≥ 24 hours/week caregiving) had elevated rates of decline when adjusted for physical activity, but lower rates when not adjusted for it.
Older white caregivers have poorer health outcomes than black female caregivers. Physical activity appears to mask the adverse effects of high-intensity caregiving in most race-gender groups.
The protective mechanisms by which some obese individuals escape the detrimental metabolic consequences of obesity are not understood. This study examined differences in body fat distribution and adipocytokines in obese older persons with and without metabolic syndrome. Additionally, we examined whether adipocytokines mediate the association between body fat distribution and metabolic syndrome. Data were from 729 obese men and women (BMI≥30kg/m2), aged 70-79 participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study. Thirty-one percent of these obese men and women did not have metabolic syndrome. Obese persons with metabolic syndrome had significantly more abdominal visceral fat (men:p=0.04; women:p<0.01) and less thigh subcutaneous fat (men:p=0.09; women:p<0.01) than those without metabolic syndrome. Additionally, those with metabolic syndrome had significantly higher levels of IL-6, TNF-α and PAI-1 than individuals without metabolic syndrome. Per standard deviation (SD) higher in visceral fat, the likelihood of metabolic syndrome significantly increased in women (odds ratio (OR):2.16, 95% confidence interval (CI):1.59-2.94). In contrast, the likelihood of metabolic syndrome decreased in both men (OR:0.56, 95%CI:0.39-0.80) and women (OR:0.49, 95%CI:0.34-0.69) with each SD higher in thigh subcutaneous fat. These associations were partly mediated by adipocytokines; the association between thigh subcutaneous fat and metabolic syndrome was no longer significant in men. In summary, metabolically healthy obese older persons had a more favorable fat distribution, characterized by lower visceral fat and greater thigh subcutaneous fat and a more favorable inflammatory profile compared to their metabolically unhealthy obese counterparts.
We examined whether a systemic marker of oxidative stress, F2-isoprostanes (F2-IP), was associated with total and regional adiposity, adipocytokines, and change in adiposity. Using data from 726 participants enrolled in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study, F2-IP and adipocytokines were measured from baseline plasma samples. Total adiposity was measured by whole body DXA and regional adiposity by abdominal and thigh CT scans at baseline and 5-year follow-up. ANOVA models were estimated to examine associations between F2-IP tertiles and baseline adiposity and changes in body composition. Median F2-IP was 54.3 pg/ml; women had significantly higher levels than men (61.5 vs. 48.9 pg/ml, p<0.001). F2-IP was associated with higher levels of adiponectin, leptin, and TNF-α. Men in the highest F2-IP tertile had significantly higher total percent body fat than those in the lowest tertile. Positive associations were found between F2-IP and all measures of total and regional adiposity among women. In linear regression models, adipocytokines mediated associations among women. Over 5 years of follow up, women in the highest versus lowest F2-IP tertile exhibited significant loss of weight (lowest tertile: −1.1 kg, highest tertile: −2.7 kg, p<0.05). In conclusion, F2-isoprostanes were associated with measures of total and regional adiposity in women and with total body fat in men; associations for women were partially explained by adipocytokines. F2-isoprostanes predicted loss of total adiposity over time among women.
Abdominal obesity; Adipokines; Adipose Tissue; Oxidative Stress; Weight Change
Strength, physical performance, adiposity and lean mass may be independent risk factors for disability in older adults. The aim of this study was to empirically identify groupings of these interrelated measures and test how such groupings may relate to disability risk.
Prospective Health, Aging and Body Composition Study (Health ABC)
Two US clinical centers
1,263 women and 1,221 men
Weight, strength (knee extension, grip); walking speed; chair stands; dual x-ray absorptiometry (fat and lean mass for total body, arm, and leg; percent fat); and thigh computed tomography scans (muscle area, muscle density). Analyses were stratified by sex. Factor analysis reduced these variables into a smaller number of components, and proportional hazards models assessed risk of major disability for the components identified.
In both sexes, factor analysis reduced the 14 individual variables into three components that explained 76–77% of the data variance: Factor 1, an adiposity component, with strong loading by fat mass, weight and muscle density; Factor 2, a strength/lean body size component with strong loading by lean mass, weight and strength; Factor 3, a physical performance component with positive loading by walking speed and chair stands performance. Factor 1 (adiposity) and Factor 3 (performance), but not Factor 2 (strength/lean body size), were associated with disability over 6.1 (± 2.6 SD) years.
Adiposity and physical performance constructs, but not the strength/lean body size construct, were associated with disability risk, suggesting that adiposity and performance should be considered as risk factors for disability.
lean mass; muscle; strength; disability; sarcopenia