Health indices as predictors of cognition among older African Americans: MacArthur studies of successful aging.
Using cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the MacArthur Successful Aging Study, this paper examines associations between cognition and indices of health in 224 elderly African Americans 70 to 79 years of age at initial interview. The results indicated that greater average peak expiratory flow was predictive of better cognitive performance at the first interview. One longitudinal analysis showed that gender was the only significant predictor of change (change as a continuous variable) with women tending to slightly improve their cognitive performance over time. When change was treated as a dichotomous variable (e.g., a decline of 6 or more points), lower levels of average peak expiratory flow and education were predictive of decline, and positive self-ratings of current health and changes in health in the past year were important factors in the improvement of cognitive performance. The results indicate that, in addition to education, health is an important predictor of the status and course of cognitive functioning in older African Americans.
Whitfield, KE; Seeman, TE; Miles, TP; Albert, MS; Berkman, LF; Blazer, DG; Rowe, JW
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