Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are common among older adults and are associated with poorer physical performance and strength, but results from longitudinal studies have been inconsistent. The 25(OH)D threshold for physical performance and strength was determined, and both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between 25(OH)D and physical performance and strength were examined, in men and women aged 71–80 years from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (n = 2,641). Baseline serum 25(OH)D was measured in 1998–1999, and physical performance and strength were measured at baseline and at 2- and 4-year follow-up. Piecewise regression models were used to determine 25(OH)D thresholds. Linear regression and mixed models were used to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations. The 25(OH)D thresholds were 70–80 nmol/L for physical performance and 55–70 nmol/L for strength. Participants with 25(OH)D <50 nmol/L had poorer physical performance at baseline and at 2- and 4-year follow-up than participants with 25(OH)D ≥75 nmol/L (P < 0.01). Although physical performance and strength declined over 4 years of follow-up (P < 0.0001), in general, the rate of decline was not associated with baseline 25(OH)D. Older adults with low 25(OH)D concentrations had poorer physical performance over 4 years of follow-up, but low 25(OH)D concentrations were not associated with a faster rate of decline in physical performance or strength.
aged; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; muscle strength; physical performance
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.
To test the feasibility and utility of a bedside geriatric assessment (GA) to detect impairment in multiple geriatric domains in older adults initiating chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
Prospective observational cohort study.
Single academic institution.
Individuals aged 60 and older with newly diagnosed AML and planned chemotherapy.
Bedside GA was performed during inpatient exmination for AML. GA measures included the modified Mini-Mental State Examination; Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; Distress Thermometer, Pepper Assessment Tool for Disability (includes self- reported activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, and mobility questions); Short Physical Performance Battery (includes timed 4-m walk, chair stands, standing balance); grip strength, and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Comorbidity Index.
Of 54 participants (mean age 70.8 ± 6.4) eligible for this analysis, 92.6% completed the entire GA battery (mean time 44.0 ± 14 minutes). The following impairments were detected: cognitive impairment, 31.5%; depression, 38.9%; distress, 53.7%; impairment in ADLs, 48.2%; impaired physical performance, 53.7%; and comorbidity, 46.3%. Most were impaired in one (92.6%) or more (63%) functional domains. For the 38 participants rated as having good performance status according to standard oncologic assessment (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Performance Scale score ≤1), impairments in individual GA measures ranged from 23.7% to 50%. Significant variability in cognitive, emotional, and physical status was detected even after stratification according to tumor biology (cytogenetic risk group classification).
Inpatient GA was feasible and added new information to standard oncology assessment, which may be important for stratifying therapeutic risk in older adults with AML.
geriatric assessment; acute myelogenous leukemia; cancer; functional status; elderly
Older adults face a number of barriers to receiving psychotherapy, such as a lack of transportation and access to providers. One way to overcome such barriers is to provide treatment by telephone. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy delivered by telephone (CBT-T) to older adults diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Randomized controlled trial.
Sixty participants ≥ 60 years of age with a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
CBT-T vs. information-only comparison.
Co-primary outcomes included worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire) and general anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory). Secondary outcomes included clinician-rated anxiety (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale), anxiety sensitivity (Anxiety Sensitivity Index), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory), quality of life (SF-36), and sleep (Insomnia Severity Index). Assessments were completed prior to randomization, immediately upon completion of treatment, and 6 months after completing treatment.
CBT-T was superior to information-only in reducing general anxiety (ES = 0.71), worry (ES = 0.61), anxiety sensitivity (ES = 0.85), and insomnia (ES = 0.82) at the post-treatment assessment; however, only the reductions in worry were maintained by the 6 month follow-up assessment (ES = 0.80).
These results suggest that CBT-T may be efficacious in reducing anxiety and worry in older adults, but additional sessions may be needed to maintain these effects.
anxiety; cognitive-behavioral therapy; elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Panic Disorder; telephone-delivered psychotherapy
Self-management of type 2 diabetes including avoidance of hypoglycemia is complex, but the impact of cognition on safe self-management is not well understood. This study aimed to assess the effect of baseline cognitive function and cognitive decline on subsequent risk of severe hypoglycemia and to assess the effect of different glycemic strategies on these relationships.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Prospective cohort analysis of data from the ACCORD trial included 2,956 adults aged ≥55 years with type 2 diabetes and additional cardiovascular risk factors. Cognitive tests (Digit Symbol Substitution Test [DSST], Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, Stroop Test, and Mini Mental Status Examination) were conducted at baseline and 20 months. Study outcomes were incident confirmed severe hypoglycemia requiring medical assistance (HMA) and hypoglycemia requiring any assistance (HAA).
After a median 3.25-year follow-up, a 5-point-poorer baseline score on the DSST was predictive of a first episode of HMA (hazard ratio 1.13 [95% CI 1.08–1.18]). Analyses of the other cognitive tests and of HAA were consistent with the DSST results. Cognitive decline over 20 months increased the risk of subsequent hypoglycemia to a greater extent in those with lower baseline cognitive function (Pinteraction = 0.037). Randomization to an intensive versus standard glycemic strategy had no impact on the relationship between cognitive function and the risk of severe hypoglycemia.
Poor cognitive function increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. Clinicians should consider cognitive function in assessing and guiding their patients regarding safe diabetes self-management regardless of their glycemic targets.
Persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at risk for cognitive impairment and brain atrophy. The ACCORD Memory in Diabetes (MIND) Study investigated whether persons randomized to an intensive glycaemic therapeutic strategy targeting HbA1c to <6% had better cognitive function and a larger brain volume at 40 months than persons randomized to a standard strategy targeting HbA1c to 7%–7.9%.
ACCORD MIND was a double 2×2 factorial parallel group randomised trial conducted in 52 clinical sites in North America. Participants [age 55 – <80 years] with T2D, high HbA1c concentrations (>7.5%), and at high risk for cardiovascular events were randomised to treatment groups using a centralized web-based system. Clinic staff and participants were not blinded to treatment arm. The cognitive primary outcome, the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) score, was assessed at baseline, 20 and 40 months. Total brain volume (TBV), the primary brain structure outcome, was assessed with MRI at baseline and 40 months in a sub-set of 632 participants. All participants with follow-up data were included in the primary analyses. In February, 2008, increased mortality risk led to the termination of the intensive therapy and transition of those participants to standard glycaemic treatment.
Randomised patients (n=2977; mean age 62.3 years) were consecutively enrolled; the final analysis included 1358 intensive and 1416 standard arm participants with a 20 or 40 month DSST score. Of the 614 with a baseline MRI, 230 intensive and 273 standard therapy participants were included in the analysis. There was no treatment difference in the DSST score. The intensive group had a greater TBV than the standard group (difference, 4.62; 95% CI 2.0 to7.3 cm3; p=0.0007).
Although significant differences in TBV favored the intensive therapy, cognitive outcomes were not different. Combined with the unfavorable effects on other ACCORD outcomes, MIND findings do not support using intensive therapy to reduce the adverse effects of diabetes on the brain in patients similar to MIND participants. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00182910).
Individual measures and previous composite measures of subclinical vascular disease defined high risk for cardiovascular events, but did not detect low and modest risk. A different approach might better describe the spectrum from low to high risk.
Methods and Results.
In the Cardiovascular Health Study, 3,252 participants without history of clinical cardiovascular disease (M ± SD 74.3 years ± 5.1, 63% women, 17% African Americans) had noninvasive vascular assessments in 1992–1993. We assigned a score of 0, 1, or 2 (no, mild, or severe abnormalities) to ankle–arm index, electrocardiogram, and common carotid intima-media thickness, based on clinical cutoffs. A summary index (range 0–6, absent to severe disease) summed individual scores. Abdominal aortic ultrasound and brain magnetic resonance imaging were collected in a subsample. Mortality and incident cardiovascular events were identified through June 2008. Event and death rates increased across index grades. Comparing grades 1 to 5+ with absent disease, and adjusting for demographics, hazard ratios for cardiovascular events within 8 years ranged from 1.1 (95% confidence interval 0.8–1.6) to 4.7 (3.4–6.9) and, for mortality, from 1.5 (1.0–2.3) to 5.0 (3.3–7.7) (p for trend across grades <.001 for both outcomes). Adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors did not substantially change the associations. The index improved mortality risk classification over demographics and risk factors in participants who did not die during the follow-up. Including in the index the aortic ultrasound and the brain magnetic resonance imaging further improved risk classification.
Older adults with minimal subclinical vascular disease had low cardiovascular events risk and mortality. This approach might more fully account for vascular burden.
Epidemiology; Aging; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular disease; Mortality
Kidney disease is associated with cognitive impairment in studies of nondiabetic adults. We examined the cross-sectional relation between three measures of renal function and performance on four measures of cognitive function in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Memory in Diabetes (ACCORD-MIND) study.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The relationships among estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (n = 2,968), albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR) ≥30 μg/mg (n = 2,957), and cystatin C level >1.0 mg/L (n = 532) with tertile of performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), and Stroop Test of executive function were measured.
In adjusted logistic regression models, ACR ≥30 μg/mg was associated with performance in the lowest tertile, compared with the highest two tertiles, on the RAVLT (odds ratio 1.30, 95% CI 1.09–1.56, P = 0.006), equivalent to 3.6 years of aging, and on the DSST (1.47, 1.20–1.80, P = 0.001), equivalent to 3.7 years of aging. Cystatin C >1.0 mg/L was borderline associated with the lowest tertile on the DSST (1.81, 0.93–3.55, P = 0.08) and Stroop (1.78, 0.97–3.23, P = 0.06) in adjusted models. eGFR was not associated with any measure of cognitive performance.
In diabetic people with HbA1c >7.5% at high risk for cardiovascular disease, decreased cognitive function was associated with kidney disease as measured by ACR, a measure of microvascular endothelial pathology, and cystatin C, a marker of eGFR.
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.
Cognitive function; Physical performance; Cognition; Physical function
This article describes the development of Biblio and Telephone Therapy or BTT, a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for late-life anxiety disorders. Although studies have examined bibliotherapy for the treatment of late-life depression, none have studied it as a format for treating late-life anxiety. The application of this treatment to 4 older adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and/or Panic Disorder (PD) is described and benefits, advantages and limitations are discussed.
In previous analyses in the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT), Blacks had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the pravastatin compared to the usual care group, while non-Blacks had no benefit from pravastatin. No previous statin trial has enrolled enough minority participants to analyze the results separately in Blacks.
To determine if apparent racial differences in CHD in ALLHAT are explained by differences in baseline characteristics, adherence during the trial, or achieved blood pressure and lipid lowering.
This was a pre-specified subgroup analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Hypertensive, moderately hypercholesterolemic participants were assigned to open-label pravastatin (40 mg/day) or usual care. The outcome was a composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction and fatal CHD. We performed intention-to-treat survival analyses using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for baseline covariates (age, sex, aspirin use, history of CHD and diabetes, and baseline hypertension treatment), and time-varying levels of blood pressure and total cholesterol.
After adjustment for baseline characteristics, there remained a significant interaction between race and treatment group (p=0.02). In stratified models, Blacks in the pravastatin group had a 29% lower risk of CHD (HR 0.71, 95% CI 0.57 – 0.90, p=0.005) compared to usual care, while non-Blacks had no benefit (HR 1.00, 95% CI 0.85 – 1.19, p=0.95). With further adjustment for achieved blood pressure and total cholesterol, the HR in Blacks was 0.65 (95% CI 0.45 – 0.96, p=0.03) and in non-Blacks was 1.07 (95% CI 0.81 – 1.41, p=0.65).
Our results suggest that pravastatin is effective in preventing CHD in blacks.
Accumulating evidence suggests that ginkgo biloba is cardioprotective, in part, through its vasodilatory and antihypertensive properties. However, definitive data on its blood pressure-lowering effects in humans is lacking.
We determined the effects of ginkgo biloba extract (240 mg/day) on blood pressure and incident hypertension in 3,069 participants (mean age, 79 yrs; 46% female; 96% White) from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study. We also examined whether the treatment effects are modified by baseline hypertension status.
At baseline 54% of the study participants were hypertensive, 28% were pre-hypertensive, and 17% were normotensive. Over a median follow-up of 6.1 years, there were similar changes in blood pressure and pulse pressure in the ginkgo biloba and placebo groups. Although baseline hypertension status did not modify the antihypertensive effects of ginkgo biloba, it did influence the changes in blood pressure variables observed during follow-up, with decreases in hypertensives, increases in normotensives, and no changes in pre-hypertensives. Among participants who were not on antihypertensive medications at baseline, there was no difference between treatment groups in medication use over time, as the OR (95% CI) for being a never-user in the ginkgo biloba group was 0.75 (0.48–1.16). The rate of incident hypertension also did not differ between participants assigned to ginkgo biloba vs. placebo (HR, 0.99, 95% CI, 0.84–1.15).
Our data indicate that ginkgo biloba does not reduce blood pressure or the incidence of hypertension in elderly men and women.
gingko biloba; blood pressure; hypertension; elderly
The purpose of this study was to conduct a pilot clinical trial to test the feasibility and efficacy of an exercise program and anti-depressant treatment compared with usual care in improving the emotional and physical functioning of older adults with minor depression. Participants were 37 older adults with minor depression who were randomized to exercise, sertraline, or usual care; 32 participants completed the 16 week study. Outcomes included measures of both emotional (clinician and self-report) and physical (observed and self-report) functioning. There were trends for the superiority of the exercise and sertraline conditions over usual care in improving SF-36 mental health scores and clinician-rated depression scores. Individuals in the exercise condition showed greater improvements in physical functioning than individuals in the usual care condition. Both sertraline and exercise show promise as treatments for late-life minor depression. However, exercise has the added benefit of improving physical functioning as well.
Cognitive impairment is an important contributor to disability. Limited clinical trial evidence exists regarding the impact of physical exercise on cognitive function (CF). We report results of a pilot study to provide estimates of the relative impact of physical activity (PA) on 1-year changes in cognitive outcomes and to characterize relationships between changes in mobility disability and changes in cognition in older adults at increased risk for disability.
Sedentary persons (102) at increased risk for disability (aged 70–89 years) were randomized to moderate-intensity PA or health education. Participants were administered the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), modified Stroop test, and Modified Mini-Mental State Examination at baseline and 1 year.
Group differences were not significant but improvements in cognitive scores were associated with improvements in physical function. Specifically, the DSST significantly correlated with change in the Short Physical Performance Battery score (r = .38, p = .0002), in chair stand score (r = .26, p = .012), in balance score (r = .21, p = .046), and in 400-m gait speed (r = .15, p = .147). Change recall on the RAVLT and in the Stroop test was also positively correlated with changes in chair stand and balance, respectively.
These results provide further support for the benefits of exercise on CF in older adults. An adequately powered clinical trial of PA involving older adults at increased risk for cognitive disability is needed to expand the indications for prescribing exercise for prevention of decline in brain function.
Exercise; Cognition; Aging; Prevention; LIFE study
The purposes of this study are to determine the frequency and severity of insomnia symptoms and related complaints experienced by older adults with GAD and compare them with older adults without GAD; compare insomnia symptoms among older adults with GAD with and without comorbid depression; determine if there are age differences in insomnia severity among people with GAD; and determine if there are differences in insomnia severity between older adults with GAD and older adults diagnosed with insomnia.
Participants were recruited through primary care clinics, advertisements, and mass mailings.
110 older adults; 31 with GAD, 25 with GAD and depression, 33 worried well, and 21 with no psychiatric diagnosis.
Psychiatric diagnosis, sleep disturbance, and health.
Participants with GAD with and without comorbid depression reported significantly greater sleep disturbance severity than participants with no psychiatric diagnosis and the worried well. There were no differences in sleep disturbances between older adults with GAD only and older adults with comorbid GAD and depression. The severity of sleep disturbance reported by older participants with GAD was greater than reports by young and middle-aged participants with GAD, and comparable to reports by older adults with a diagnosis of insomnia.
Ninety percent of older adults with GAD report dissatisfaction with sleep and the majority report moderate to severe insomnia. These findings support the assessment of sleep disturbances within the context of late-life GAD.
Anxiety; GAD; insomnia; sleep
Ginkgo biloba is widely used for its potential effects on memory and cognition. To date, adequately powered clinical trials testing the effect of G biloba on dementia incidence are lacking.
To determine effectiveness of G biloba vs placebo in reducing the incidence of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) in elderly individuals with normal cognition and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Design, Setting, and Participants
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in 5 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008 with a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Three thousand sixty-nine community volunteers aged 75 years or older with normal cognition (n=2587) or MCI (n=482) at study entry were assessed every 6 months for incident dementia.
Twice-daily dose of 120-mg extract of G biloba (n=1545) or placebo (n=1524).
Main Outcome Measures
Incident dementia and AD determined by expert panel consensus.
Five hundred twenty-three individuals developed dementia (246 receiving placebo and 277 receiving G biloba) with 92% of the dementia cases classified as possible or probable AD, or AD with evidence of vascular disease of the brain. Rates of dropout and loss to follow-up were low (6.3%), and the adverse effect profiles were similar for both groups. The overall dementia rate was 3.3 per 100 person-years in participants assigned to G biloba and 2.9 per 100 person-years in the placebo group. The hazard ratio (HR) for G biloba compared with placebo for all-cause dementia was 1.12 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94–1.33; P=.21) and for AD, 1.16 (95% CI, 0.97–1.39; P=.11). G biloba also had no effect on the rate of progression to dementia in participants with MCI (HR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.85–1.50; P=.39).
In this study, G biloba at 120 mg twice a day was not effective in reducing either the overall incidence rate of dementia or AD incidence in elderly individuals with normal cognition or those with MCI.
OBJECTIVE—Diabetes is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. However, the relationship between the degree of hyperglycemia and cognitive status remains unclear. This was explored using baseline cognitive measures collected in the ongoing Memory in Diabetes (MIND) substudy of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—The relationship of A1C and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels to performance on four cognitive tests was assessed, adjusting for age and other determinants of cognitive status. The tests were the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE), Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and Stroop Test.
RESULTS—A statistically significant age-adjusted association was observed between the A1C level and the score on all four cognitive tests. Specifically, a 1% higher A1C value was associated with a significant 1.75-point lower DSST score (95% CI −1.22 to −2.28; P < 0.0001), a 0.20-point lower MMSE score (−0.11 to −0.28; P < 0.0001), a 0.11-point lower memory score (−0.02 to −0.19, P = 0.0142), and a worse score (i.e., 0.75 s more) on the Stroop Test (1.31–0.19, P = 0.0094). The association between the DSST score and A1C persisted in all multiple linear regression models. FPG was not associated with test performance.
CONCLUSIONS—Higher A1C levels are associated with lower cognitive function in individuals with diabetes. The effect of glucose lowering on cognitive function will be determined by the ongoing ACCORD-MIND trial.
Despite the prevalence and impact of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in the primary care setting, little is known about its presentation in this setting. The purpose of this study is to examine age and racial differences in the presentation and treatment of GAD in medical patients. Participants were recruited from one family medicine clinic and one internal medicine clinic. The prevalence of GAD was lowest for older adults. Age differences were found in the presentation of GAD, with young adults reporting greater cognitive symptoms of anxiety, negative affect, and depressive symptoms. African-Americans with GAD reported more positive affect and lower rates of treatment. The lower levels of negative affect and depressive symptoms reported among older adults may affect the recognition of GAD by primary care physicians. Further research is needed to better understand the causes of racial differences in treatment.
age differences; anxiety; elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; racial differences
To determine the influence of anxiety on the progression of disability and examine possible mediators of the relationship.
Community-based observational study.
Women’s Health and Aging Study I, a prospective observational study with assessments every 6 months over 3 years.
One thousand two functionally limited women aged 65 years and older.
Anxiety symptoms were assessed with 4 questions from the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (nervous or shaky, avoidance of certain things, tense or keyed up, fearful). Participants who reported experiencing 2 or more of these symptoms at baseline were considered anxious. Anxiety as a predictor of the onset of 4 types of disability was examined using Cox proportional hazard models. Three models were tested: an unadjusted model, a model adjusted for confounding variables (age, race, vision, number of diseases, physical performance, depressive symptoms), and a mediational model (benzodiazepine use, physical activity, emotional support).
Nineteen percent of women reported 2 or more symptoms of anxiety at baseline. Unadjusted models indicate that anxiety was associated with a greater risk of worsening disability: ADL disability (Hazard Risk = 1.40, 95% CI 1.10–1.79), mobility disability (HR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.06–1.86), lifting disability (HR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.20–1.97), and light housework disability (HR = 1.77, 95% CI 1.32–2.37). After adjusting for confounding variables, anxiety continued to predict the development of 2 types of disability: ADL disability (HR = 1.41, 95% CI 1.08–1.84) and light housework disability (HR = 1.56, 95% CI 1.14–2.14). Finally, benzodiazepine and psychotropic medication use, physical activity, and emotional support were not significant mediators of the effect of anxiety on the development of a disability.
Anxiety is a significant risk factor for the progression of disability among older women. Studies are needed to determine if treatment of anxiety delays or prevents disability.
anxiety symptoms; disability; aged (65+)
The Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) is a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled trial designed to compare the rate of coronary heart disease events in high-risk hypertensive participants initially randomized to a diuretic (chlorthalidone) versus each of three alternative antihypertensive drugs: alpha-adrenergic blocker (doxazosin), ACE-inhibitor (lisinopril), and calcium-channel blocker (amlodipine). Combined cardiovascular disease risk was significantly increased in the doxazosin arm compared to the chlorthalidone arm (RR 1.25; 95% CI, 1.17–1.33; P < .001), with a doubling of heart failure (fatal, hospitalized, or non-hospitalized but treated) (RR 2.04; 95% CI, 1.79–2.32; P < .001). Questions about heart failure diagnostic criteria led to steps to validate these events further.
Methods and Results
Baseline characteristics (age, race, sex, blood pressure) did not differ significantly between treatment groups (P < .05) for participants with heart failure events. Post-event pharmacologic management was similar in both groups and generally conformed to accepted heart failure therapy. Central review of a small sample of cases showed high adherence to ALLHAT heart failure criteria. Of 105 participants with quantitative ejection fraction measurements provided, (67% by echocardiogram, 31% by catheterization), 29/46 (63%) from the chlorthalidone group and 41/59 (70%) from the doxazosin group were at or below 40%. Two-year heart failure case-fatalities (22% and 19% in the doxazosin and chlorthalidone groups, respectively) were as expected and did not differ significantly (RR 0.96; 95% CI, 0.67–1.38; P = 0.83).
Results of the validation process supported findings of increased heart failure in the ALLHAT doxazosin treatment arm compared to the chlorthalidone treatment arm.
heart failure; alpha-blocker; diuretic; clinical trial
Florbetapir F 18 PET can image amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregates in the brains of living subjects. We prospectively evaluated the prognostic utility of detecting Aβ pathology using florbetapir PET in subjects at risk for progressive cognitive decline.
A total of 151 subjects who previously participated in a multicenter florbetapir PET imaging study were recruited for longitudinal assessment. Subjects included 51 with recently diagnosed mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 69 cognitively normal controls (CN), and 31 with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer disease dementia (AD). PET images were visually scored as positive (Aβ+) or negative (Aβ−) for pathologic levels of β-amyloid aggregation, blind to diagnostic classification. Cerebral to cerebellar standardized uptake value ratios (SUVr) were determined from the baseline PET images. Subjects were followed for 18 months to evaluate changes in cognition and diagnostic status. Analysis of covariance and correlation analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between baseline PET amyloid status and subsequent cognitive decline.
In both MCI and CN, baseline Aβ+ scans were associated with greater clinical worsening on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale–Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog (p < 0.01) and Clinical Dementia Rating–sum of boxes (CDR-SB) (p < 0.02). In MCI Aβ+ scans were also associated with greater decline in memory, Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS), and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (p < 0.05). In MCI, higher baseline SUVr similarly correlated with greater subsequent decline on the ADAS-Cog (p < 0.01), CDR-SB (p < 0.03), a memory measure, DSS, and MMSE (p < 0.05). Aβ+ MCI tended to convert to AD dementia at a higher rate than Aβ− subjects (p < 0.10).
Florbetapir PET may help identify individuals at increased risk for progressive cognitive decline.
Muscle loss and fat gain contribute to the disability, pain, and morbidity associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA), and thigh muscle weakness is an independent and modifiable risk factor for it. However, while all published treatment guidelines recommend muscle strengthening exercise to combat loss of muscle mass and strength in knee OA patients, previous strength training studies either used intensities or loads below recommended levels for healthy adults or were generally short, lasting only 6 to 24 weeks. The efficacy of high-intensity strength training in improving OA symptoms, slowing progression, and affecting the underlying mechanisms has not been examined due to the unsubstantiated belief that it might exacerbate symptoms. We hypothesize that in addition to short-term clinical benefits, combining greater duration with high-intensity strength training will alter thigh composition sufficiently to attain long-term reductions in knee-joint forces, lower pain levels, decrease inflammatory cytokines, and slow OA progression.
This is an assessor-blind, randomized controlled trial. The study population consists of 372 older (age ≥ 55 yrs) ambulatory, community-dwelling persons with: (1) mild-to-moderate medial tibiofemoral OA (Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) = 2 or 3); (2) knee neutral or varus aligned knee ( -2° valgus ≤ angle ≤ 10° varus); (3) 20 kg.m-2 ≥ BMI ≤ 45 kg.m-2; and (3) no participation in a formal strength-training program for more than 30 minutes per week within the past 6 months. Participants are randomized to one of 3 groups: high-intensity strength training (75-90% 1Repetition Maximum (1RM)); low-intensity strength training (30-40%1RM); or healthy living education. The primary clinical aim is to compare the interventions’ effects on knee pain, and the primary mechanistic aim is to compare their effects on knee-joint compressive forces during walking, a mechanism that affects the OA disease pathway. Secondary aims will compare the interventions’ effects on additional clinical measures of disease severity (e.g., function, mobility); disease progression measured by x-ray; thigh muscle and fat volume, measured by computed tomography (CT); components of thigh muscle function, including hip abductor strength and quadriceps strength, and power; additional measures of knee-joint loading; inflammatory and OA biomarkers; and health-related quality of life.
Test-retest reliability for the thigh CT scan was: total thigh volume, intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) = 0.99; total fat volume, ICC = 0.99, and total muscle volume, ICC = 0.99. ICC for both isokinetic concentric knee flexion and extension strength was 0.93, and for hip-abductor concentric strength was 0.99. The reliability of our 1RM testing was: leg press, ICC = 0.95; leg curl, ICC = 0.99; and leg extension, ICC = 0.98. Results of this trial will provide critically needed guidance for clinicians in a variety of health professions who prescribe and oversee treatment and prevention of OA-related complications. Given the prevalence and impact of OA and the widespread availability of this intervention, assessing the efficacy of optimal strength training has the potential for immediate and vital clinical impact.
As the number of older adults in the United States rises, maintaining functional independence among older Americans has emerged as a major clinical and public health priority. Older people who lose mobility are less likely to remain in the community; demonstrate higher rates of morbidity, mortality, and hospitalizations; and experience a poorer quality of life. Several studies have shown that regular physical activity improves functional limitations and intermediate functional outcomes, but definitive evidence showing that major mobility disability can be prevented is lacking. A Phase 3 randomized controlled trial is needed to fill this evidence gap.
The Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study is a Phase 3 multicenter randomized controlled trial designed to compare a supervised moderate-intensity physical activity program with a successful aging health education program in 1,600 sedentary older persons followed for an average of 2.7 years.
LIFE's primary outcome is major mobility disability, defined as the inability to walk 400 m. Secondary outcomes include cognitive function, serious fall injuries, persistent mobility disability, the combined outcome of major mobility disability or death, disability in activities of daily living, and cost-effectiveness.
Results of this study are expected to have important public health implications for the large and growing population of older sedentary men and women.
Disability; Physical activity; Exercise; Geriatrics; Physical function
Obesity is the most modifiable risk factor, and dietary induced weight loss potentially the best nonpharmacologic intervention to prevent or to slow osteoarthritis (OA) disease progression. We are currently conducting a study to test the hypothesis that intensive weight loss will reduce inflammation and joint loads sufficiently to alter disease progression, either with or without exercise. This article describes the intervention, the empirical evidence to support it, and test-retest reliability data.
This is a prospective, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. The study population consists of 450 overweight and obese (BMI = 27–40.5 kg/m2) older (age ≥ 55 yrs) adults with tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. Participants are randomized to one of three 18-month interventions: intensive dietary restriction-plus-exercise; exercise-only; or intensive dietary restriction-only. The primary aims are to compare the effects of these interventions on inflammatory biomarkers and knee joint loads. Secondary aims will examine the effects of these interventions on function, pain, and mobility; the dose response to weight loss on disease progression; if inflammatory biomarkers and knee joint loads are mediators of the interventions; and the association between quadriceps strength and disease progression.
Test-retest reliability results indicated that the ICCs for knee joint load variables were excellent, ranging from 0.86 – 0.98. Knee flexion/extension moments were most affected by BMI, with lower reliability with the highest tertile of BMI. The reliability of the semi-quantitative scoring of the knee joint using MRI exceeded previously reported results, ranging from a low of 0.66 for synovitis to a high of 0.99 for bone marrow lesion size.
The IDEA trial has the potential to enhance our understanding of the OA disease process, refine weight loss and exercise recommendations in this prevalent disease, and reduce the burden of disability.