Population aging increases the need for knowledge on positive aspects of aging, and contributions of older people to their own wellbeing and that of others. We defined active aging as an individual's striving for elements of wellbeing with activities as per their goals, abilities and opportunities. This study examines associations of health, health behaviors, health literacy and functional abilities, environmental and social support with active aging and wellbeing. We will develop and validate assessment methods for physical activity and physical resilience suitable for research on older people, and examine their associations with active aging and wellbeing. We will examine cohort effects on functional phenotypes underlying active aging and disability.
For this population-based study, we plan to recruit 1000 participants aged 75, 80 or 85 years living in central Finland, by drawing personal details from the population register. Participants are interviewed on active aging, wellbeing, disability, environmental and social support, mobility, health behavior and health literacy. Physical activity and heart rate are monitored for 7 days with wearable sensors. Functional tests include hearing, vision, muscle strength, reaction time, exercise tolerance, mobility, and cognitive performance. Clinical examination by a nurse and physician includes an electrocardiogram, tests of blood pressure, orthostatic regulation, arterial stiffness, and lung function, as well as a review of chronic and acute conditions and prescribed medications. C-reactive protein, small blood count, cholesterol and vitamin D are analyzed from blood samples. Associations of factors potentially underlying active aging and wellbeing will be studied using multivariate methods. Cohort effects will be studied by comparing test results of physical and cognitive functioning with results of a cohort examined in 1989-90.
The current study will renew research on positive gerontology through the novel approach to active aging and by suggesting new biomarkers of resilience and active aging. Therefore, high interdisciplinary impact is expected. This cross-sectional study will not provide knowledge on temporal order of events or causality, but an innovative cross-sectional dataset provides opportunities for emergence of novel creative hypotheses and theories.
This cross-sectional study investigated associations between reasons to go outdoors and objectively-measured walking activity in various life-space areas among older people. During the study, 174 community-dwelling older people aged 75-90 from central Finland wore an accelerometer over seven days and recorded their reasons to go outdoors in an activity diary. The most common reasons for going outdoors were shopping, walking for exercise, social visits, and running errands. Activities done in multiple life-space areas contributed more to daily step counts than those done in the neighborhood or town and beyond. Those who went shopping or walked for exercise accumulated higher daily step counts than those who did not go outdoors for these reasons. These results show that shopping and walking for exercise are common reasons to go outdoors for community-dwelling older people and may facilitate walking activity in older age. Future studies on how individual trips contribute to the accumulation of steps are warranted.
To study the prevalence of and changes in astigmatism from the onset of myopia at school age.
Two hundred and forty myopic schoolchildren (mean age 10.9 years), with no previous spectacles, were recruited during 1983-1984 to a randomized 3-year clinical trial of bifocal treatment of myopia. Three annual examinations with subjective cycloplegic refraction were performed for 237-238 subjects. Subsequent examinations were performed at the mean ages of 23.2 and 33.9 years for 178 and 163 subjects, and the last examination, including data from prescriptions of different ophthalmologists, for 32 subjects. Corneal topography was studied at baseline, at the 3-year follow-up and at the two adulthood follow-ups. Prevalence and changes in refractive astigmatism (RA), in its polar values J0 and J45, and corneal astigmatism (CA) were studied.
Mean RA of the right eye increased during follow-up from 0.26 D (SD) ± 0.30 to 0.79 D ± 0.74. Mean CA was 1.07 D ± 0.74 at study end. The prevalence of RA =0.25 or =1.00 D increased from 54.9 and 3.8% to 83.4 and 34.4%, respectively. The main direction of the axis of RA and its polar value J0 and CA changed mainly through sphericity, from against the rule (ATR) to with the rule during the follow-up. There was a negative correlation between RA and spherical refraction in the ATR group at end of follow-up. Changes in RA were associated with increase in myopia and with changes in CA.
The prevalence and mean amount of RA associated with CA increased, and the axis of astigmatism changed among myopics during the 23-year follow-up.
To profile participants based on reported outdoor physical activity barriers using a data-driven approach, describe the profiles and study their association with unmet physical activity need.
Cross-sectional analyses of 848 community-dwelling men and women aged 75-90 living in Central Finland in 2012. Barriers to outdoor physical activity and unmet physical activity need were enquired with a questionnaire. The latent profiles were identified by profiling participants into latent groups using a mixture modeling technique on the multivariate set of indicators of outdoor physical activity barriers. A path model was used to study the associations of the profiles with unmet physical activity need.
Five barrier profiles were identified. Profile A was characterized with minor barriers, profile B with weather barriers, profile C with health and weather barriers, profile D with barriers concerning insecurity, health and weather; and profile E with mobility and health barriers. The participants in the profiles differed in the proportion of individual and environmental barriers. The risk for unmet physical activity need was highest among people whose severe mobility difficulties restricted their outdoor physical activity.
Outdoor physical activity barriers reflect the imbalance in person-environment fit among older people, manifested as unmet physical activity need.
The aim of this study was to analyze whether the associations between perceived environmental and individual characteristics and perceived walking limitations in older people differ between those with intact and those with poorer lower extremity performance.
Persons aged 75 to 90 ( N = 834) participated in interviews and performance tests in their homes. Standard questionnaires were used to obtain walking difficulties; environmental barriers to and, facilitators of, mobility; and perceived individual hindrances to outdoor mobility. Lower extremity performance was tested using Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).
Among those with poorer lower extremity performance, the likelihood for advanced walking limitations was, in particular, related to perceived poor safety in the environment, and among those with intact performance to perceived social issues, such as lack of company, as well as to long distances.
The environmental correlates of walking limitations seem to depend on the level of lower extremity performance.
Mobility decline, the coexistence of several sensory difficulties and fear of falling (FOF) are all common concerns in older people; however, knowledge about the combined effect of FOF and coexisting sensory difficulties on mobility is lacking.
Data on self-reported FOF, difficulties in hearing, vision, balance, and walking 2 km were gathered with a structured questionnaire among 434 women aged 63-76 years at baseline and after a 3-year follow-up. Logistic regression models were used for analyses.
Every third participant reported difficulties in walking 2 km at baseline. In cross-sectional analysis, the odds ratio for difficulties in walking 2 km was higher among persons who reported FOF compared with persons without FOF and the odds increased with the increasing number of sensory difficulties. Persons who reported FOF and who had three sensory difficulties had almost fivefold odds (odds ratio = 4.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.9-11.7) for walking difficulties compared with those who reported no FOF and no sensory difficulties. Among the 290 women without walking difficulties at baseline, 54 participants developed difficulty in walking 2 km during the 3-year follow-up. Odds ratio for incident walking difficulty was 3.5 (95% confidence interval = 1.6-7.8) in participants with FOF and with 2-3 sensory difficulties compared with persons without FOF and with at most one sensory difficulty at baseline.
Older women who have several coexisting sensory difficulties combined with FOF are particularly vulnerable to mobility decline. Avoidance of walking as a result of FOF is likely to be reinforced when multiple sensory difficulties hinder reception of accurate information about the environment, resulting in accelerated decline in walking ability.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on the air-conducted hearing threshold levels at low (0.125-0.5 kHz), mid (1-2 kHz), and high (4-8 kHz) frequencies separately for the better and worse hearing ear in older women. We also examined the distribution of audiogram configurations. Data was analysed using quantitative genetic modelling. As part of the Finnish twin study on aging (FITSA), hearing was measured in 103 monozygotic and 114 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 63-76 years. Approximately every third subject had a flat type, and two-thirds a descending type of audiogram configuration. No significant difference was observed in the distribution of audiogram configurations between zygosity groups. In the better ear, additive genetic effects accounted for 64%-74% of the total variance at different frequencies. For the worse ear, environmental effects were larger. Although overall heritability is rather constant across the frequency spectrum, it is noteworthy that at low and high frequencies frequency-specific genetic and environmental effects together accounted for the majority of the total variance.
To determine whether genetic influences account for individual differences in susceptibility to falls in older women.
Prospective twin cohort study.
Research laboratory and residential environment.
Ninety-nine monozygotic (MZ) and 114 dizygotic (DZ) female twin pairs aged 63 to 76 from the Finnish Twin Cohort study.
The participants recorded their falls on a calendar for an average+/-standard deviation of 344+/-41 days. Reported falls were verified via telephone interview, and circumstances, causes, and consequences of the fall were asked about.
The total number of falls was 434, of which 188 were injurious; 91 participants had two or more falls. Casewise concordance was 0.61 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.49-0.72) for MZ twins and 0.49 (95% CI=0.37-0.62) for DZ twins for at least one fall, 0.38 (95% CI=0.23-0.53) for MZ and 0.33 (95% CI=0.17-0.50) for DZ twins for at least one injurious fall, and 0.43 (95% CI=0.26-0.60) for MZ and 0.36 (95% CI=0.17-0.55) for DZ twins for recurrent falls. On average, the proportion of familial influences accounting for the individual differences in susceptibility to at least one fall was 30% and to recurrent falls was 40%; nongenetic familial and nonfamilial factors alone accounted for susceptibility to at least one injurious fall.
In community-dwelling older women, familial factors underlie the risk of falling but not the risk of injurious falls.
The purpose of the present study was to examine, first, whether hearing acuity predicts falls and whether the potential association is explained by postural balance and, second, to examine whether shared genetic or environmental effects underlie these associations.
Hearing was measured using a clinical audiometer as a part of the Finnish Twin Study on Aging in 103 monozygotic and 114 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 63-76 years. Postural balance was indicated as a center of pressure (COP) movement in semi-tandem stance, and participants filled in a fall-calendar daily for an average of 345 days after the baseline.
Mean hearing acuity (better ear hearing threshold level at 0.5-4 kHz) was 21 dB (standard deviation [SD] 12). Means of the COP velocity moment for the best to the poorest hearing quartiles increased linearly from 40.7 mm(2)/s (SD 24.4) to 52.8 mm(2)/s (SD 32.0) (p value for the trend = .003). Altogether 199 participants reported 437 falls. Age-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for falls, with the best hearing quartile as a reference, were 1.2 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4-3.8) in the second, 4.1 (95% CI = 1.1-15.6) in the third, and 3.4 (95% CI = 1.0-11.4) in the poorest hearing quartiles. Adjustment for COP velocity moment decreased IRRs markedly. Twin analyses showed that the association between hearing acuity and postural balance was not explained by genetic factors in common for these traits.
People with poor hearing acuity have a higher risk for falls, which is partially explained by their poorer postural control. Auditory information about environment may be important for safe mobility.
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Cites: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2008 Feb;63(2):171-818314453