Greater Disease Burden, Greater Risk? Exploring Cognitive Change and Health Status Among Older Blacks

De Annah R. Byrd, Roland J. Thorpe, Keith E. Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The objective of study is to examine the relationships between health status and changes in cognition over time among middle to older aged Blacks. Method: Data come from the Baltimore Study of Black Aging—Patterns of Cognitive Aging. At baseline, 602 Black participants, ranging from ages 48 to 95 years, were enrolled. At follow-up, approximately 3 years later, 450 participants were re-interviewed. Results: After accounting for baseline cognition, age, sex, and education, a greater number of health conditions was associated with slower perceptual speed (b = −5.099, p =.022). Average peak expiratory flow was also associated with improvements in working memory (b = 0.029, p =.019) and perceptual speed (b = 0.026, p =.026), controlling for model covariates. Discussion: Study findings demonstrate that greater disease burden is associated with declines in specific fluid cognitive abilities in middle to later life among Blacks. This finding highlights the importance of reducing health disparities that disproportionately affect Blacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-816
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume32
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • Black adults
  • cognitive changes
  • disease burden
  • fluid and crystallized abilities
  • lung function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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