Although an increasing body of evidence links being overweight in midlife with an increased risk for dementia in late life, no studies have examined the association between being overweight in midlife and cognitive ability in late life. Our aim was to examine the association between being overweight in midlife as measured by body mass index (BMI) and cognitive ability assessed over time.
Participants in the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study Aging were derived from a population-based sample. The participants completed baseline surveys in 1963 or 1973 (mean age 41.6 years, range 25-63 years). The surveys included questions about height, weight, diseases, and lifestyle factors. Beginning in 1986, the same individuals were assessed on neuropsychological tests every 3 years (except in 1995) until 2002. During the study period, 781 individuals who were 50 years and older (60% women) had at least one complete neuropsychological assessment. A composite score of general cognitive ability was derived from the cognitive test battery for each measurement occasion.
Latent growth curve models adjusted for twinness showed that persons with higher midlife BMI scores had significantly lower general cognitive ability and significantly steeper longitudinal decline than their thinner counterparts. The association did not change substantially when persons who developed dementia during the study period were excluded from the analysis.
Higher midlife BMI scores precede lower general cognitive ability and steeper cognitive decline in both men and women. The association does not seem to be mediated by an increased risk for dementia.
The aims of this article were to describe changes in social relations from ages 75 to 80, and analyze whether changes in social relations are influenced by functional ability at age 75. The study includes data from the NORA follow-up study of 75-80 year-old men and women in Jyväskylä (Finland), Göteborg (Sweden) and Glostrup (Denmark). The present analyses include the 743 persons who participated in both studies and who answered the questions about social relations. The structure of social relations was measured by: 1) frequency of contacts with children, grand/greatgrandchildren, relatives, close friends, acquaintances, and neighbors; 2) diversity of social relations (number of types of social contacts); 3) telephone contacts; and 4) social participation. The function of social relations was measured by instrumental social support. Functional ability was measured by tiredness and need for help in Physical Activities of Daily Living (PADL). Depressive symptoms, living alone and locality were included as covariates in the multivariate analyses. There were large changes in social relations in old age, but the changes included widely varying patterns of losses and gains among the participants. Women who felt tired in their daily activities had more sustained little contact with children [OR=4.2 (1.4-12.1)] and more sustained little diversity in social relations [OR=2.2 (0.95-5.3)]. Both men and women in need of help had more sustained little diversity in social relations compared to the well-functioning persons [men: OR=4.4 (1.3-15.0); women: OR=3.0 (0.93-9.6)].
The purpose of this report is to describe the Study of Dementia in Swedish Twins (known as HARMONY), including procedures for complete ascertainment of all cases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias in 14,435 individuals aged 65 and older from the national Swedish twin registry. Telephone cognitive screening identified 11.5% as positive for cognitive dysfunction. Clinical diagnoses were completed for 1557 individuals, including individuals who screened positive, their twin partners, and a sample of normal controls. Estimated prevalence of dementia ranged from 1.4% for age 65-69 to 29.2% for age 90 and older. Concordance rates for Alzheimer's disease were 59% for monozygotic twins, 32% for like-sexed, and 24% for unlike-sexed dizygotic twins. Among monozygotic twins where both twins had Alzheimer's disease, the within pair difference in age of onset ranged from both becoming demented in the same year to 7 years difference in onset.
The aim of the study was to look firstly at the changes that occurred in depressive symptomatology over a 5-year period among originally 75-year-old residents in three Nordic localities: Glostrup in Denmark, Göteborg in Sweden and Jyväskylä in Finland, and secondly, at some selected variables if they predicted depressed mood in this study. The study is a part of a 5-year follow-up of the Nordic comparative NORA study on functional capacity. A 5-year follow-up was carried out with the survivors in 1994. Depressive symptomatology was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). The number of survivors was 277 in Glostrup, 226 In Göteborg and 250 in Jyväskylä. The proportion of respondents with depressive symptoms was highest in Jyväskylä; this was true for both men and women at baseline and at the follow-up. In the baseline study, minor depression was more common among women than men in all three localities, and at the follow-up in Göteborg and Glostrup. In the follow-up study, men and women in Jyväskylä scored higher means on the CES-D scale than did the groups in Göteborg and Glostrup. During the follow-up, there was no significant change in the mean score describing depressed mood (CES-D total scale) in any locality in either men or women. The mean score of those who died during the follow-up period differed significantly from the score of survivors among women in Göteborg and in Glostrup. The most clear predictors for depressed mood in this Nordic 5-year follow-up study were chronic diseases, feelings of loneliness, and self-rated health.
AIMS: This study examines different correlates to health-related quality (HRQoL) of life after discharge in patients with stroke. BACKGROUND: HRQoL is an important aspect of life after suffering a stroke. Previous research has revealed several variables associated with poststroke quality of life, including age, gender, depression, fatigue, length of hospital stay, functional status and amount of social participation. However, the time span after stroke varies greatly in the different studies. Although the multiple factors that contribute to short-term postdischarge HRQoL have potential importance for discharge planning, to our knowledge, these factors have not been systematically investigated during the earlier days following discharge. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: The sample consisted of 188 consecutively included individuals (mean age 74 years, 56% men) from a stroke unit in southern Sweden. The interviews were performed two to three weeks after discharge and included use of the SF-36, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Barthel Index, the Frenchay Activities Index, performance of interests and survey of patients' perceived participation in discharge planning. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to identify variables associated with HRQoL. RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses with the eight scales of SF-36 as dependent variables revealed eight models, one for each scale, which were statistically significant. Depressive symptoms were associated with lower HRQoL. Ability to perform personal and social activities, interests, younger age, education (elementary school) and shorter hospital stay were related to higher HRQoL. Patients' perceived participation in discharge planning was both positively and negatively associated with HRQoL. CONCLUSIONS: Several variables were related to good HRQoL two to three weeks post-discharge, particularly fewer depressive symptoms, participation in social activities such as outdoor activities and performance of interests. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: These results can be used to design needs assessment forms of discharge planning to promote adaptation and recovery after stroke.
OBJECTIVE: It has been reported that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) may protect against dementia of Alzheimer's type and/or vascular dementia. However, co-morbidity and the dose of aspirin may be critical. A major indication for low-dose aspirin is prophylaxis after stroke and transient ischaemic attacks, conditions that may obscure an anti-dementia effect by the drug. Alternatively, low-dose aspirin may be insufficient if the protective effect is due to an anti-inflammatory mechanism. The aim of this study was to assess whether high-dose or low-dose aspirin may protect against Alzheimer's dementia in subjects aged > or =80 years. For comparison, effects of (other) NSAID, paracetamol and D-propoxyphene were studied. METHODS: Global, cross-sectional, and longitudinal (1991-2000) epidemiological analyses of clinical, cognitive and drug treatment data on 702 individuals 80 years old or more (351 twin pairs of same sex), all alive at inclusion: mean age 83.9 years (80-99 years). Calculations were made with logistic regression of associations between use of various analgesics and cognitive function, after adjustment for age, gender, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. RESULTS: Users of high-dose aspirin had significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia and better-maintained cognitive function than non-users. There were numerically similar but not significant associations with use of low-dose aspirin and other NSAID. There were no such associations with use of either paracetamol or D-propoxyphene. CONCLUSION: Aspirin might protect against Alzheimer's disease, but controlled trials are warranted.
High proportions of shared age-related variance are found among measures of perceptual acuity, balance, muscle strength, and cognitive capabilities in age-heterogeneous, cross-sectional studies. Reliance on cross-sectional studies is problematic, however, because associations may arise from age-related mean trends. Narrow age-cohort samples provide an alternative basis for testing hypotheses regarding associations among rates of change. Cross-domain associations were evaluated in combined 75-year-old cohort samples from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. In general, no consistent associations were found across sensory, balance, strength, and cognitive domains. These findings indicate that the effects of aging on sensory acuity, balance, and cognitive functioning are likely to be largely independent, multidimensional, and complex at the level of the individual.
PURPOSE: Few international comparisons of health services are performed using microlevel data. Using such data, this paper compares the need for and receipt of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) in comparable samples in the United States and Sweden, a country with a universal system of community-based services. DESIGN AND METHODS: Data from national surveys of community residents completed at approximately the same time in each nation are used to create comparable measures of need and assistance. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses compare need and assistance patterns across the nations and identify individual factors that explain receipt of assistance and unmet needs. RESULTS: Our results indicate that a simple story of greater use of paid formal services in Sweden and more unpaid informal use in the United States masks a more complex relationship. Assistance with ADLs seems to be more targeted in Sweden; narrow differences in assistance widen considerably when the analysis is limited to those reporting need. IMPLICATIONS: Although these two different health systems result in similar levels of overall ADL assistance, a detailed microlevel comparison reveals key distinctions. Further microlevel comparisons of access, cost, and quality in cross-national data can further aid our understanding of the consequences of health policy.
The aim of the present study was to examine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to depressive symptoms among older women. The participants were 102 monozygotic and 115 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 64 to 76 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Center for the Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The contribution of genetic and environmental effects was estimated for the constructed depressiveness factor and for the subscales which were depressed mood, psychomotor retardation, lack of wellbeing and interpersonal difficulties. Of the variance in depressiveness, shared environmental influences accounted for 39% and nonshared environmental influences 61%. For the subscales, 24% to 62% of the variance was explained by individual, and 13% to 23% by shared, environmental factors. Lack of wellbeing had its own moderate additive genetic effect explaining 30% of the variance. This study showed that in older women predominantly environmental factors underlay individual differences in depressiveness; however, the factors varied to some extent between dimensions measured by the subscales.
Although genetic effects are known to be important for early onset Alzheimer's disease, little is known about the importance of genetic effects for late-onset disease. Furthermore, previous studies are based on prevalent cases. Our purpose was to characterize the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors for incident Alzheimer's disease late in life, and to test for differences in the importance of genetic effects at different ages. A cohort of 662 pairs of Swedish twins 52 to 98 years of age who were without symptoms of dementia was followed up for an average of 5 years. Incident dementia cases were detected through follow-up at 2 to 3-year intervals using either cognitive testing or telephone screening followed by dementia workups. A physician, psychologist, and nurse gave consensus diagnoses. During the follow-up period, 5.8% of the sample was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Average age of onset was 83.9 years (standard deviation, 6.3). Of the 26 monozygotic pairs in which at least one twin developed Alzheimer's disease, 5 were concordant (probandwise concordance, 32.2%). The concordance rate for dizygotic pairs was 8.7% (2 of 44 pairs). Structural model fitting indicated that 48% of the variation in liability to Alzheimer's disease could be attributed to genetic variation. Estimates did not differ significantly between twins younger than age 80 years and those older than age 80 years at baseline. Although these genetic estimates for incident disease are lower than those for prevalent disease, the importance of genetic factors for liability to Alzheimer's disease is considerable even late in life.
Comment In: Ann Neurol. 2004 Feb;55(2):156-814755716