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1.  Racial Similarities and Differences in Predictors of Mobility Change over Eighteen Months 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2004;19(11):1118-1126.
OBJECTIVES
To define racial similarities and differences in mobility among community-dwelling older adults and to identify predictors of mobility change.
DESIGN
Prospective, observational, cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS
Nine hundred and five community-dwelling older adults.
MEASURES
Baseline in-home assessments were conducted to assess life-space mobility, sociodemographic variables, disease status, geriatric syndromes, neuropsychological factors, and health behaviors. Disease reports were verified by review of medications, physician questionnaires, or hospital discharge summaries. Telephone interviews defined follow-up life-space mobility at 18 months of follow-up.
RESULTS
African Americans had lower baseline life-space (LS-C) than whites (mean 57.0 ± standard deviation [SD] 24.5 vs. 72.7 ± SD 22.6; P < .001). This disparity in mobility was accompanied by significant racial differences in socioeconomic and health status. After 18 months of follow-up, African Americans were less likely to show declines in LS-C than whites. Multivariate analyses showed racial differences in the relative importance and strength of the associations between predictors and LS-C change. Age and diabetes were significant predictors of LS-C decline for both African Americans and whites. Transportation difficulty, kidney disease, dementia, and Parkinson's disease were significant for African Americans, while low education, arthritis/gout, stroke, neuropathy, depression, and poor appetite were significant for whites.
CONCLUSIONS
There are significant disparities in baseline mobility between older African Americans and whites, but declines were more likely in whites. Improving transportation access and diabetes care may be important targets for enhancing mobility and reducing racial disparities in mobility.
doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.30239.x
PMCID: PMC1494786  PMID: 15566441
aging; mobility; function; African American; minority health; health disparities
2.  Design and rationale of studies of neurohormonal blockade and outcomes in diastolic heart failure using OPTIMIZE-HF registry linked to Medicare data 
International journal of cardiology  2011;166(1):230-235.
Background
Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization for Medicare beneficiaries. Nearly half of all HF patients have diastolic HF or HF with preserved ejection fraction (HF-PEF). Because these patients were excluded from major randomized clinical trials of neurohormonal blockade in HF there is little evidence about their role in HF-PEF.
Methods
The aims of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act-funded National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-sponsored “Neurohormonal Blockade and Outcomes in Diastolic Heart Failure” are to study the long-term effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, and aldosterone antagonists in four separate propensity-matched populations of HF-PEF patients in the OPTIMIZE-HF (Organized Program to Initiate Life-Saving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure) registry. Of the 48,612 OPTIMIZE-HF hospitalizations occurring during 2003–2004 in 259 U.S. hospitals, 20,839 were due to HF-PEF (EF ≥40%). For mortality and hospitalization we used Medicare national claims data through December 31, 2008.
Results
Using a two-step (hospital-level and hospitalization-level) probabilistic linking approach, we assembled a cohort of 11,997 HF-PEF patients from 238 OPTIMIZE-HF hospitals. These patients had a mean age of 75 years, mean EF of 55%, were 62% women, 15% African American, and were comparable with community-based HF-PEF cohorts in key baseline characteristics.
Conclusions
The assembled Medicare-linked OPTIMIZE-HF cohort of Medicare beneficiaries with HF-PEF with long-term outcomes data will provide unique opportunities to study clinical effectiveness of various neurohormonal antagonists with outcomes in HF-PEF using propensity-matched designs that allow outcome-blinded assembly of balanced cohorts, a key feature of randomized clinical trials.
doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2011.10.089
PMCID: PMC3465528  PMID: 22119116
Diastolic heart failure; neurohormonal antagonists; OPTIMIZE-HF; Medicare
3.  Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Outcomes in Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction 
The American journal of medicine  2013;126(5):401-410.
BACKGROUND
The role of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction remains unclear.
METHODS
Of the 10,570 patients ≥65 years with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction (≥40%) in OPTIMIZE-HF (2003–2004) linked to Medicare (through December, 2008), 7304 were not receiving angiotensin receptor blockers and had no contraindications to ACE inhibitors. After excluding 3115 patients with pre-admission ACE inhibitor use, the remaining 4189 were eligible for new discharge prescriptions for ACE inhibitors, and 1706 received them. Propensity scores for the receipt of ACE inhibitors, calculated for each of the 4189 patients, were used to assemble a cohort of 1337 pairs of patients, balanced on 114 baseline characteristics.
RESULTS
Matched patients had a mean age of 81 years, mean ejection fraction of 55%, 64% were women and 9% African American. Initiation of ACE inhibitor therapy was associated with lower risk of the primary composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or heart failure hospitalization during 2.4 years of median follow-up (hazard ratio {HR}, 0.91; 95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.84–0.99; p=0.028), but not with individual endpoints of all-cause mortality (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.88–1.05; p=0.373) or heart failure hospitalization (HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.83–1.05; p=0.257).
CONCLUSION
In hospitalized older patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction not receiving angiotensin receptor blockers, discharge initiation of ACE inhibitor therapy was associated with a modest improvement in the composite endpoint of total mortality or heart failure hospitalization, but had no association with individual endpoint components.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.01.004
PMCID: PMC3656660  PMID: 23510948
ACE inhibitors; Heart Failure; Preserved Ejection Fraction
4.  Nondisease-Specific Problems and All-Cause Mortality in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study 
Background/Objectives
Problems that cross multiple domains of health are frequently assessed in older adults. We evaluated the association between six of these nondisease-specific problems and mortality among middle-aged and older adults.
Design
Prospective, observational cohort
Setting
U.S. population sample
Participants
Participants included 23,669 black and white US adults ≥ 45 years of age enrolled in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study.
Measurements
Nondisease-specific problems included cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, falls, polypharmacy, impaired mobility and exhaustion. Age-stratified (<65, 65-74, and ≥ 75 years) hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were calculated for each problem individually and by number of problems.
Results
Among participants < 65, 65-74, ≥ 75 years old, one or more nondisease-specific problems occurred in 40%, 45% and 55% of participants, respectively. Compared to those with none of these problems the multivariable adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for all-cause mortality associated with each additional nondisease-specific problem was 1.34 (1.23–1.46), 1.24 (1.15–1.35) and 1.30 (1.21–1.39), among participants < 65, 65 – 74 years, ≥ 75 years of age, respectively.
Conclusion
Nondisease-specific problems were associated with mortality across a wide age spectrum. Future studies should determine if treating these problems will improve survival and identify innovative healthcare models to address multiple nondisease-specific problems simultaneously.
doi:10.1111/jgs.12214
PMCID: PMC3656135  PMID: 23617688
nondisease-specific problems; geriatrics; mortality
5.  Life-Space Mobility Among Mexican Americans Aged 75 Years and Older 
OBJECTIVE
To examine the factors associated with life-space mobility in older Mexican Americans.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional study involving a population-based survey.
SETTING
Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly survey conducted in the southwestern of United States (Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and California).
PARTICIPANTS
728 Mexican American men and women aged 75 years and older.
MEASUREMENTS
In-home interviews assessed socio-demographic factors, self-reported physician-diagnoses of medical conditions (arthritis, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, hip fracture, and cancer), depressive symptoms, cognitive function, body mass index (BMI), upper and lower extremity muscle strength, short physical performance battery (SPPB), activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and the life-space assessment (LSA).
RESULTS
Mean age of participants was 84.2 years (SD, 4.2). Sixty-five percent were female. Mean score of LSA was 41.7 (SD, 20.9). Multiple regression analysis showed that older age, being female, limitation in ADLs, stroke, high depressive symptoms and BMI ≥35 kg/m2 were significantly associated with lower scores in LSA. Education and high performances in lower extremity function and in muscle strength were factors significantly associated with higher scores in LSA.
CONCLUSION
Older Mexican Americans had restricted life-space with approximately 80% limited to their home or neighborhood. Age, gender, stroke, high depressive symptoms, BMI ≥ 35 Kg/m2, and ADL disability were related to decreased life-space. Future studies are needed to examine the association between life-space and health outcomes and to characterize the trajectory of life-space over time in this population.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03822.x
PMCID: PMC3996837  PMID: 22283683
mobility; life-space; older adults; Mexican American
6.  Renin-Angiotensin Inhibition in Diastolic Heart Failure and Chronic Kidney Disease 
The American journal of medicine  2013;126(2):150-161.
BACKGROUND
The role of renin-angiotensin inhibition in older patients with diastolic heart failure and chronic kidney disease remains unclear.
METHODS
Of the 1340 patients (age ≥65 years), with diastolic heart failure (ejection fraction ≥45%) and chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2), 717 received angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. Propensity scores for the use of these drugs, estimated for each of the 1340 patients, were used to assemble a cohort of 421 pairs of patients, receiving and not receiving these drugs, who were balanced on 56 baseline characteristics.
RESULTS
During more than 8 years of follow-up, all-cause mortality occurred in 63% and 69% of matched patients with chronic kidney disease receiving and not receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, respectively (hazard ratio {HR}, 0.82; 95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.70–0.97; p=0.021). There was no association with heart failure hospitalization (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.82–1.18; p=0.816). Similar mortality reduction (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.66–0.995; p=0.045) occurred in a subgroup of matched patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate <45 ml/min/1.73 m2. Among 207 pairs of propensity-matched patients without chronic kidney disease, the use of these drugs was not associated with mortality (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.80–1.33; p=0.826) or heart failure hospitalization (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.76–1.30; p=0.946).
CONCLUSIONS
A discharge prescription for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers was associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality in older patients with diastolic heart failure and chronic kidney disease including those with more advanced chronic kidney disease.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.06.031
PMCID: PMC3575519  PMID: 23331442
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; Angiotensin receptor blockers; Chronic kidney disease; Diastolic heart failure
7.  Indicators of Childhood Quality of Education in Relation to Cognitive Function in Older Adulthood 
Background.
The association between years of education and cognitive function in older adults has been studied extensively, but the role of quality of education is unknown. We examined indicators of childhood educational quality as predictors of cognitive performance and decline in later life.
Methods.
Participants included 433 older adults (52% African American) who reported living in Alabama during childhood and completed in-home assessments of cognitive function at baseline and 4 years later. Reports of residence during school years were matched to county-level data from the 1935 Alabama Department of Education report for school funding (per student), student–teacher ratio, and school year length. A composite measure of global cognitive function was utilized in analyses. Multilevel mixed effects models accounted for clustering of educational data within counties in examining the association between cognitive function and the educational quality indices.
Results.
Higher student–teacher ratio was associated with worse cognitive function and greater school year length was associated with better cognitive function. These associations remained statistically significant in models adjusted for education level, age, race, gender, income, reading ability, vascular risk factors, and health behaviors. The observed associations were stronger in those with lower levels of education (≤12 years), but none of the education quality measures were related to 4-year change in cognitive function.
Conclusions.
Educational factors other than years of schooling may influence cognitive performance in later life. Understanding the role of education in cognitive aging has substantial implications for prevention efforts as well as accurate identification of older adults with cognitive impairment.
doi:10.1093/gerona/gls122
PMCID: PMC3598357  PMID: 22546959
Cognitive aging; Education; Health disparities
8.  Aldosterone Antagonists and Outcomes in Real-World Older Patients with Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction 
JACC. Heart failure  2013;1(1):40-47.
Objectives
The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical effectiveness of aldosterone antagonists in older patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction (HF-PEF).
Background
Aldosterone antagonists improve outcomes in HF and reduced EF. However, their role in HF-PEF remains unclear.
Methods
Of the 10,570 hospitalized older (age ≥65 years) HF-PEF (EF ≥40%) patients in Medicare-linked OPTIMIZE-HF (Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure) trial, 8013 had no prior aldosterone antagonist use and no current contraindications, of whom 492 (6% of 8013) received new prescriptions for aldosterone antagonists. We assembled a matched cohort of 487 pairs of patients receiving and not receiving aldosterone antagonists, who had similar propensity to receive these drugs, and were balanced on 116 baseline characteristics.
Results
Patients had a mean age of 80 years, a mean EF of 54%, 59% were women, and 8% were African American. During 2.4 year of mean follow-up (through December, 2008), the primary composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or HF hospitalization occurred in 392 (81%) and 393 (81%) patients receiving and not receiving aldosterone antagonists, respectively (hazard ratio {HR}, 0.97; 95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.84–1.11; p=0.628). Aldosterone antagonists had no association with all-cause mortality (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.89–1.20; p=0.693) or HF hospitalization (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.73–1.07; p=0.188). Among 8013 pre-match patients, multivariable-adjusted HR for primary composite endpoint associated with aldosterone antagonist use was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.83–1.03; p=0.144).
Conclusions
In older HF-PEF patients, aldosterone antagonists had no association with clinical outcomes. Findings from the ongoing randomized controlled TOPCAT (Treatment of Preserved Cardiac Function Heart Failure With an Aldosterone Antagonist) trial will provide further insights into their effect in HF-PEF.
doi:10.1016/j.jchf.2012.08.001
PMCID: PMC3694622  PMID: 23814702
Aldosterone antagonists; Heart failure; Preserved ejection fraction
9.  Baseline Characteristics, Quality of Care, and Outcomes of Younger and Older Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized with Heart Failure: Findings from the Alabama Heart Failure Project 
Background
Most studies of heart failure (HF) in Medicare beneficiaries have excluded patients age <65 years. We examined baseline characteristics, quality of care, and outcomes among younger and older Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with HF in the Alabama Heart Failure Project.
Methods
Of the 8049 Medicare beneficiaries discharged alive with a primary discharge diagnosis of HF in 1998–2001 from 106 Alabama hospitals, 991 (12%) were younger (age <65 years). After excluding 171 patients discharge to hospice care, 7867 patients were considered eligible for left ventricular systolic function (LVSF) evaluation and 2211 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction <45% and without contraindications were eligible for angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) therapy.
Results
Nearly half of the younger HF patients (45% versus 22% for ≥65 years; p<0.001) were African American. LVSF was evaluated in 72%, 72%, 70% and 60% (overall p<0.001) and discharge prescriptions of ACE inhibitors or ARBs were given to 83%, 77%, 75% and 75% of eligible patients (overall p=0.013) among those <65, 65–74, 75–84 and ≥85 years, respectively. During 9 years of follow-up, all-cause mortality occurred in 54%, 61%, 71% and 80% (overall p<0.001) and hospital readmission due to worsening HF occurred in 65%, 60%, 55% and 48% (overall p<0.001) of those <65, 65–74, 75–84 and ≥85 years, respectively.
Conclusion
Medicare beneficiaries <65 years with HF, nearly half of whom were African American, generally received better quality of care, had lower mortality, but had higher re-hospitalizations due to HF.
doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2011.05.003
PMCID: PMC3395759  PMID: 21621285
heart failure; age; Medicare; quality of care; outcomes
10.  Predicting the Trajectories of Perceived Pain Intensity in Southern Community-Dwelling Older Adults: The Role of Religiousness 
Research on aging  2012;35(6):10.1177/0164027512456402.
This study focuses on the identification of multiple latent trajectories of pain intensity, and it examines how religiousness is related to different classes of pain trajectory. Participants were 720 community-dwelling older adults who were interviewed at four time points over a 3-year period. Overall, intensity of pain decreased over 3 years. Analysis using latent growth mixture modeling (GMM) identified three classes of pain: (1) increasing (n = 47); (2) consistently unchanging (n = 292); and (3) decreasing (n = 381). Higher levels of intrinsic religiousness (IR) at baseline were associated with higher levels of pain at baseline, although it attenuated the slope of pain trajectories in the increasing pain group. Higher service attendance at baseline was associated with a higher probability of being in the decreasing pain group. The increasing pain group and the consistently unchanging group reported more negative physical and mental health outcomes than the decreasing pain group.
doi:10.1177/0164027512456402
PMCID: PMC3813015  PMID: 24187410
pain trajectory; religiousness; latent growth modeling
11.  Angiotensin receptor blockers and outcomes in real-world older patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction: a propensity-matched inception cohort clinical effectiveness study 
European Journal of Heart Failure  2012;14(10):1179-1188.
Aims
To examine the clinical effectiveness of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in older patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction (HF-PEF).
Methods and results
Of the 10 570 hospitalized HF-PEF patients, aged ≥65 years, EF ≥40%, in OPTIMIZE-HF (2003–2004), linked to Medicare data (up to 31 December 2008), 3806 were not receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or prior ARB therapy. Of these, 303 (8%) patients received new discharge prescriptions for ARBs. Propensity scores for the receipt of ARBs, estimated for each of the 3806 patients, were used to assemble a cohort of 296 pairs of patients receiving and not receiving ARBs, who were balanced on 114 baseline characteristics. Patients had a mean age of 80 years, mean EF of 55%, 69% were women, and 12% were African American. During 6 years of follow-up, the primary composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or HF hospitalization occurred in 79% (235/296) and 81% (241/296) of patients receiving and not receiving ARBs, respectively [hazard ratio (HR) associated with ARB use 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74–1.06; P = 0.179]. ARB use had no association with individual endpoints of all-cause mortality (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.76–1.14; P = 0.509), HF hospitalization (HR 0.90, 95% CI, 0.72–1.14; P = 0.389), or all-cause hospitalization (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.77–1.08; P = 0.265). These associations remained unchanged when we compared any (prevalent and new prescriptions) ARB use vs. non-use in a separately assembled propensity-matched cohort of 1137 pairs of HF-PEF patients.
Conclusions
In real-world older HF-PEF patients, ARB use was not associated with improved clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1093/eurjhf/hfs101
PMCID: PMC3448391  PMID: 22759445
Angiotensin receptor blockers; Heart failure; Preserved ejection fraction
12.  Symptom Burden Predicts Hospitalization Independent of Comorbidity in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 
OBJECTIVES
To determine if cumulative symptom burden predicted hospitalizations or emergency department (ED) visits in a cohort of older adults.
DESIGN
Prospective, observational study with a baseline in-home assessment of symptom burden.
SETTING
Central Alabama.
PARTICIPANTS
980 community-dwelling adults age 65 years or older recruited from a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, stratified by sex, race, and urban/rural residence.
MEASUREMENTS
Symptom burden score (range 0–10). One point was added to the score for each symptom reported: shortness of breath, tiredness/fatigue, problems with balance/dizziness, leg weakness, poor appetite, pain, stiffness, constipation, anxiety, and loss of interest in activities. Dependent variables: Hospitalizations and ED visits assessed every 6 months during the 8.5 year follow-up period. Using Cox proportional hazard models, we determined time from the baseline in-home assessment to the first hospitalization and first hospitalization or ED visit.
RESULTS
During the 8.5 year follow up period, 545 (55.6%) participants were hospitalized or had an ED visit. The participants’ mean age was 75.3 years ± 6.7. Compared to those with lower scores, participants with greater symptom burden had higher risk of hospitalization (hazard ratio (HR)=1.09, 95% confidence interval=1.05–1.14) and hospitalization or ED visit (HR=1.10, 95% CI=1.06–1.14). Participants living in rural areas had significantly lower risk of hospitalization (HR=0.83, 95% CI= 0.69–0.99) and hospitalization or ED visit (HR=0.80, 95% CI=0.70–0.95) compared to individuals in urban areas, independent of symptom burden and comorbidity.
CONCLUSION
Greater symptom burden was associated with higher risk of hospitalization and ED visits in community-dwelling older adults. Health care providers treating older adults should consider symptom burden as an additional risk factor for subsequent hospital utilization.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04121.x
PMCID: PMC3458585  PMID: 22985139
healthcare utilization; symptom; older adults; comorbidity
13.  In-Hospital Cardiology Consultation and Evidence-Based Care for Nursing Home Residents with Heart Failure 
Objectives
To determine the association between cardiology consultation and evidence-based care for nursing home (NH) residents with heart failure (HF).
Participants
Hospitalized NH residents (n= 646) discharged from 106 Alabama hospitals with a primary discharge diagnosis of HF during 1998–2001.
Design
Observational.
Measurements of Evidence-Based Care
Pre-admission estimation of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) for patients with known HF (n=494), in-hospital LVEF estimation for HF patients without known LVEF (n=452), and discharge prescriptions of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEIs-or-ARBs) to systolic HF (LVEF <45%) patients discharged alive who were eligible to receive those drugs (n=83). Eligibility for ACEIs-or-ARBs was defined as lack of prior allergy or adverse effect, serum creatinine <2.5 mg/dL, serum potassium <5.5 mEq/L, and systolic blood pressure >100 mm Hg.
Results
Pre-admission LVEF was estimated in 38% and 12% of patients receiving and not receiving cardiology consultation, respectively (adjusted odds ratio {AOR}, 3.49; 95% CI, 2.16–5.66; p <0.001). In-hospital LVEF was estimated in 71% and 28% of patients receiving and not receiving cardiology consultation, respectively (AOR, 6.01; 95% CI, 3.69–9.79; p <0.001). ACEIs-or-ARBs were prescribed to 62% and 82% of patients receiving and not receiving cardiology consultation, respectively (AOR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.07–0.81; p=0.022).
Conclusion
In-hospital cardiology consultation was associated with significantly higher odds of LVEF estimation among NH residents with HF. However, it did not translate into higher odds of discharge prescriptions for ACEIs-or-ARBs to NH resident with systolic HF who were eligible for the receipt of these drugs.
doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2011.09.001
PMCID: PMC3750116  PMID: 21982687
heart failure; nursing home residents; cardiology consultation; evidence-based care
14.  Housing, the Neighborhood Environment, and Physical Activity among Older African Americans 
This study examines the association of neighborhood environment, as measured by housing factors, with physical activity among older African Americans. Context is provided on the effects of structural inequality as an inhibitor of health enhancing neighborhood environments. The study population included African Americans participating in the UAB Study of Aging (n=433). Participants demonstrated the ability to walk during a baseline in-home assessment. The strength and independence of housing factors were assessed using neighborhood walking for exercise as the outcome variable. Sociodemographic data, co-morbid medical conditions, and rural/urban residence were included as independent control factors. Homeownership, occupancy, and length of residency maintained positive associations with neighborhood walking independent of control factors. Housing factors appear to be predictive of resident engagement in neighborhood walking. Housing factors, specifically high rates of homeownership, reflect functional and positive neighborhood environments conducive for physical activity. Future interventions seeking to promote health-enhancing behavior should focus on developing housing and built-environment assets within the neighborhood environment.
PMCID: PMC3672407  PMID: 23745172
Housing; Neighborhood; Neighborhood Disadvantage; African American; Physical Activity
15.  Impairment of activities of daily living and incident heart failure in community-dwelling older adults 
European Journal of Heart Failure  2012;14(6):581-587.
Aims
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are tasks that are necessary for independent community living. These tasks often require intact physical and cognitive function, the impairment of which may adversely affect health in older adults. In the current study, we examined the association between IADL impairment and incident heart failure (HF) in community-dwelling older adults.
Methods and results
Of the 5795 community-dwelling adults, aged ≥65 years, in the Cardiovascular Health Study, 5511 had data on baseline IADL and were free of prevalent HF. Of these, 1333 (24%) had baseline IADL impairment, defined as self-reported difficulty with one or more of the following tasks: using the telephone, preparing food, performing light and heavy housework, managing finances, and shopping. Propensity scores for IADL impairment, estimated for each of the 5511 participants, were used to assemble a cohort of 1038 pairs of participants with and without IADL impairment who were balanced on 42 baseline characteristics. Centrally adjudicated incident HF occurred in 26% and 21% of matched participants with and without IADL impairment, respectively, during >12 years of follow-up [matched hazard ratio (HR) 1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–1.59; P = 0.002]. Unadjusted and multivariable-adjusted HRs for incident HF before matching were 1.77 (95% CI 1.56–2.01; P < 0.001) and 1.33 (95% CI 1.15–1.54; P < 0.001), respectively. IADL impairment was also associated with all-cause mortality (matched HR 1.19; 95% CI 1.06–1.34; P = 0.004).
Conclusion
Among community-dwelling older adults free of baseline HF, IADL impairment is a strong and independent predictor of incident HF and mortality.
doi:10.1093/eurjhf/hfs034
PMCID: PMC3359859  PMID: 22492539
Instrumental activities of daily living; Incident heart failure; Propensity score
16.  Inflammatory Biomarkers as Predictors of Hospitalization and Death in Community-Dwelling Older Adults 
Individuals with multimorbidity may be at increased risk of hospitalization and death. Comorbidity indexes do not capture severity of illness or healthcare utilization; however, inflammation biomarkers that are not disease-specific may predict hospitalization and death in older adults. We sought to predict hospitalization and mortality of older adults using inflammation biomarkers. From a prospective, observational study, 370 community-dwelling adults 65 years or older from central Alabama participated in an in-home assessment and provided fasting blood samples for inflammation biomarker testing in 2004. We calculated an inflammation summary score (range 0-4), one point each for low albumin, high C-reactive protein, low cholesterol, and high interleukin-6. Utilizing Cox proportional hazards models, inflammation summary scores were used to predicted time to hospitalization and death during a 4-year follow up period. The mean age was 73.7 (+5.9 yrs), and 53 (14%) participants had summary scores of 3 or 4. The rates of dying were significantly increased for participants with inflammation summary scores of 2, 3, or 4 (hazard ratios (HR) 2.22, 2.78, and 7.55, respectively; p<0.05). An inflammation summary score of 4 significantly predicted hospitalization (HR 5.92, p<0.05). Community-dwelling older adults with biomarkers positive for inflammation had increased rates of being hospitalized or dying during the follow up period. Assessment of the individual contribution of particular inflammation biomarkers in the prediction of health outcomes in older populations and the development of validated summary scores to predict morbidity and mortality are needed.
doi:10.1016/j.archger.2012.01.006
PMCID: PMC3331900  PMID: 22305611
inflammation; hospitalization; mortality; community-dwelling older adults
17.  Renin-angiotensin inhibition in systolic heart failure and chronic kidney disease 
The American Journal of Medicine  2012;125(4):399-410.
Background
The role of renin-angiotensin inhibition in older systolic heart failure patients with chronic kidney disease remains unclear.
Methods
Of the 1665 patients, age ≥65 years, with systolic heart failure (ejection fraction <45%) and chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2), 1046 received angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. Propensity scores for the receipts of these drugs, estimated for each of the 1665 patients, were used to assemble a matched cohort of 444 pairs of patients receiving and not receiving these drugs who were balanced on 56 baseline characteristics.
Results
During over 8 years of follow-up, all-cause mortality occurred in 75% and 79% of matched patients with chronic kidney disease receiving and not receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, respectively (hazard ratio {HR}, 0.86; 95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.74–0.996; p=0.045). There was no significant association with heart failure hospitalization (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.72–1.03; p=0.094). Similar mortality reduction (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.70–1.00; p=0.046) occurred in a subgroup of matched patients with estimated glomerular filtration rate <45 ml/min/1.73 m2. Among 171 pairs of propensity-matched patients without chronic kidney disease, the use of these drugs was associated with significant reduction in all-cause mortality (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55–0.94; p=0.015) and heart failure hospitalization (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.52–0.95; p=0.023).
Conclusions
Discharge prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers was associated with a significant modest reduction in all-cause mortality in older systolic heart failure patients with chronic kidney disease including those with more advanced chronic kidney disease.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.10.013
PMCID: PMC3324926  PMID: 22321760
systolic heart failure; chronic kidney disease; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; angiotensin receptor blockers
18.  Wearing the Garment of Widowhood: Variations in Time Since Spousal Loss Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults 
Journal of women & aging  2012;24(2):126-139.
We examine how the passage of time since spousal loss varies by social and demographic characteristics, using data from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study of Aging. In multivariate analyses, African American race, female sex, lower income, and higher risk of social isolation had significant and independent associations with variation in time since spousal loss. African American women were at highest risk for long-term widowhood. Accurate characterizations of widowhood among community-dwelling older adults must consider variation in the length of time individuals are living as widowed persons and socioeconomic concomitants of long-term widowhood.
doi:10.1080/08952841.2012.639660
PMCID: PMC3601770  PMID: 22486476
widow; bereavement; older women; Black women; community-dwelling; social isolation
19.  Predicting the Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms Among Southern Community-Dwelling Older Adults: The Role of Religiosity 
Aging & mental health  2011;16(2):189-198.
Background
This study examined the effects of religiosity on the trajectories of depressive symptoms in a sample of community-dwelling older adults over a four-year period in a Southern state in the U.S.
Method
Data from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study (UAB) of Aging were analyzed using a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) method. This study involved 1,000 participants aged 65 and older (M age = 75 at baseline, SD = 5.97) and data were collected annually from 1999 through 2003. The Geriatric Depression Scale measured depressive symptoms; the Duke University Religion Index measured religious service attendance, prayer, and intrinsic religiosity; and control variables included sociodemographics, health, and social and economic factors.
Results
The HLM analysis indicated a curvilinear trajectory of depressive symptoms over time. At baseline, participants who attended religious services more frequently tended to report fewer depressive symptoms. Participants with the highest levels of intrinsic religiosity at baseline experienced a steady decline in the number of depressive symptoms over the four-year period, while those with lower levels of intrinsic religiosity experienced a short-term decline followed by an increase in the number of depressive symptoms.
Implications
In addition to facilitating access to health, social support and financial resources for older adults, service professionals might consider culturally-appropriate, patient-centered interventions that boost the salutary effects of intrinsic religiosity on depressive symptoms.
doi:10.1080/13607863.2011.602959
PMCID: PMC3258845  PMID: 22032625
depressive symptoms; HLM; religiosity; trajectories
20.  Low Hemoglobin and Recurrent Falls in U.S. Men and Women: Prospective findings from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Cohort 
Background
There are few data available on low hemoglobin levels and incident falls in the general U.S. population.
Methods
Of 30,239 Black and white U.S. adults ≥ 45 years old in the population-based REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, 16,782 had hemoglobin measured at baseline and follow-up data on falls. Hemoglobin was categorized by 1.0 g/dL increments relative to the World Health Organization cut-point for anemia (13.0 g/dL for men, 12.0 g/dL for women). Recurrent falls, defined as ≥2 falls in the 6 months following baseline were assessed during a telephone interview.
Results
Recurrent falls occurred in 3.9% of men and 4.8% of women. Compared to those with a hemoglobin 1 to 2 g/dL above the anemia cut-point the multivariable adjusted odds ratios (OR; 95% confidence interval [CI]) for recurrent falls associated with hemoglobin levels ≥ 3g/dL, 2 to <3 g/dL, and 0 to 1 g/dL above the cut-point, and 0 to <1 g/dL and ≥1 g/dL below the cut-point were 0.73 (0.45–1.19), 0.84 (0.57–1.24), 1.29 (0.88–1.90), 1.32 (0.0.80–1.2.18) and 2.12 (1.23–3.63), respectively, among men (linear trend p<0.001) and 1.59 (1.10–2.3), 1.24 (0.95–1.62), 1.42(1.11–1.81), 1.28 (0.91–1.80) and 1.76 (1.13–2.74), respectively, among women (linear trend p=0.45; quadratic trend p=0.016).
Conclusions
Among men, lower hemoglobin was associated with an increased risk for recurrent falls. While our findings suggest an increased risk for recurrent falls at both lower and higher hemoglobin levels among women, these findings should be confirmed in subsequent studies.
doi:10.1097/MAJ.0b013e3182638364
PMCID: PMC3640699  PMID: 23328832
falls; hemoglobin; gender
22.  A Propensity-Matched Study of the Comparative Effectiveness of Angiotensin Receptor Blockers versus Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors in Heart Failure Patients Age ≥65 Years 
The American Journal of Cardiology  2011;108(10):1443-1448.
The comparative effectiveness of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) versus angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) in real-world older heart failure (HF) patients remains unclear. Of the 8049 hospitalized HF patients ≥65 years discharged alive from 106 Alabama hospitals, 4044 received discharge prescriptions of either ACEIs (n=3383) or ARBs (n=661). Propensity scores for ARB use, calculated for each of 4044 patients, were used to match 655 (99% of 661) patients receiving ARBs with 661 patients receiving ACEIs. The assembled cohort of 655 pairs of patients was well-balanced on 56 baseline characteristics. During over 8 years of follow-up, all-cause mortality occurred in 63% and 68% of matched patients receiving ARBs and ACEIs respectively (hazard ratio {HR} associated with ARB use, 0.86; 95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.75–0.99; p=0.031). Among the 956 matched patients with data on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), the association between ARB (versus ACEI) use was significant only in 419 patients with LVEF≥45% (HR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.51–0.84; p=0.001) but not in the 537 patients with LVEF <45% (HR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.81–1.23; p=0.999; p for interaction= 0.012). HRs (95% CIs) for HF hospitalization associated with ARBs use were 0.99 (0.86–1.14; p=0.876) overall, 0.80 (0.63–1.03; p=0.080) among those with LVEF≥45% and 1.14 (0.91–1.43; p=0.246) among those with LVEF <45% (p for interaction, 0.060). In conclusion, in older HF patients with preserved LVEF, a discharge prescription of ARBs (versus ACEI) was associated with lower mortality and a trend toward lower HF hospitalization, findings which need replication in other HF populations.
doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.06.066
PMCID: PMC3324349  PMID: 21890091
Heart failure; Older; Mortality; ACEI; ARB
23.  Emergency Department Visits by Nursing Home Residents in the United States 
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
The Emergency Department (ED) is an important source of health care for nursing home residents. The objective of this study was to characterize ED use by nursing home residents in the United States (US).
DESIGN
Analysis of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
SETTING
US Emergency Departments, 2005-2008
PARTICIPANTS
Individuals visiting US EDs, stratified by nursing home and non-nursing home residents.
INTERVENTIONS
None
MEASUREMENTS
We identified all ED visits by nursing home residents. We contrasted the demographic and clinical characteristics between nursing home residents and non-nursing home residents. We also compared ED resource utilization, length of stay and outcomes.
RESULTS
During 2005-2008, nursing home residents accounted for 9,104,735 of 475,077,828 US ED visits (1.9%; 95% CI: 1.8-2.1%). The annualized number of ED visits by nursing home residents was 2,276,184. Most nursing home residents were elderly (mean 76.7 years, 95% CI: 75.8-77.5), female (63.3%), and non-Hispanic White (74.8%). Compared with non-nursing home residents, nursing home residents were more likely have been discharged from the hospital in the prior seven days (adjusted OR 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1-1.9). Nursing home residents were more likely to present with fever (adjusted OR 1.9; 95% CI: 1.5-2.4) or hypotension (systolic blood pressure ≤90 mm Hg, OR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.5-2.2). Nursing home patients were more likely to receive diagnostic test, imaging and procedures in the ED. Almost half of nursing home residents visiting the ED were admitted to the hospital. Compared with non-nursing home residents, nursing home residents were more likely to be admitted to the hospital (adjusted OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.6-2.1) and to die (adjusted OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.6-3.3).
CONCLUSIONS
Nursing home residents account for over 2.2 million ED visits annually in the US. Compared with other ED patients, nursing home residents have higher medical acuity and complexity. These observations highlight the national challenges of organizing and delivering ED care to nursing home residents in the US.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03587.x
PMCID: PMC3495564  PMID: 22091500
emergency service; nursing homes; geriatrics
24.  LIFE-SPACE MOBILITY IS ASSOCIATED WITH FREQUENCY OF HOSPITALIZATION IN ADULTS WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS 
The clinical respiratory journal  2010;5(4):245-251.
Introduction and Objectives
The Life-space assessment can be used to measure a patient's level of mobility. This study evaluated the relationship between Life-space mobility and frequency of hospitalization in the previous year and other clinical markers of health among adults with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Methods
The Life-space assessment was administered to ambulatory adults with CF in clinic or by telephone. Life-space mobility was correlated with the most recent FEV1 % predicted, body mass index (BMI) and number of hospitalizations in the previous year.
Results
Forty-eight subjects completed the Life-space assessment. Subjects had a Life-space score of 88 ± 26, FEV1 % predicted of 66% ± 26%, and BMI of 22.5 ± 3.3. There was a statistically significant negative linear correlation between the number of times a subject was hospitalized in the previous year and Life-space mobility (p = .001, R2 = .20). This association was independent of FEV1 % predicted and BMI.
Conclusion
The Life-space mobility score is associated with frequency of hospitalization in adults with CF. A prospective study should be undertaken to assess the ability of the Life-space assessment to predict hospitalization and other outcomes in adults with CF.
doi:10.1111/j.1752-699X.2010.00225.x
PMCID: PMC3177988  PMID: 21801325
cystic fibrosis; life space mobility; quality of life
25.  Left Ventricular Diastolic Function and Exercise Capacity in Community-Dwelling Adults ≥ 65 Years of Age without Heart Failure 
The American Journal of Cardiology  2011;108(5):735-740.
Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) has been reported to have strong correlation with exercise capacity. However, this relationship has not been studied extensively in community-dwelling older adults. Data on pulse and tissue Doppler echocardiographic estimates of resting early (E) and atrial (A) transmitral peak inflow and early (Em) mitral annular velocities, and six-minute walk test were obtained from 89 community-dwelling older adults (mean age, 74; range, 65 -93 years; 54% women), without a history of heart failure. Overall, 47% had cardiovascular morbidity and 60% had normal diastolic function (E/A 0.75 -1.5 and E/Em <10). Among the 36 individuals with LVDD, 83%, 14% and 3% had grade I (E/A<0.75, regardless of E/Em), II (E/A 0.75–1.5 and E/Em ≥10) and III (E/A>1.5 and E/Em ≥10) LVDD respectively. Those with LVDD were older (77 versus 73 years; p=0.001) and tended to have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular morbidity (58% versus 40%; p=0.083). LVDD negatively correlated with six-minute walk distance (1013 versus 1128 feet; R=−0.25; p=0.017). This association remained significant despite adjustment for cardiovascular morbidity (R=−0.35; p=0.048), but lost significance when adjusted for age (R=−0.32; p=0.105), both age and cardiovascular morbidity (R=−0.38; p=0.161), and additional adjustment for sex, race, body mass index, and systolic blood pressure (R=−0.44; p=0.365). In conclusion, most community-dwelling older adults without heart failure had normal left ventricular diastolic function or grade-I LVDD. Although LVDD was associated with decreased performance on a six-minute walk test, that association was no longer evident after adjustment for age, body mass index and cardiovascular morbidity.
doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.04.025
PMCID: PMC3324348  PMID: 21704282
Left Ventricular Diastolic Function; Exercise Capacity; Older Adults; Cardiovascular Morbidity

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