The overall long-term objectives of this descriptive study are to examine spatial memory performance in HF and to determine selected biological and environment factors that explain it.
The specific aims are to: describe spatial memory performance among patients with chronic HF;to determine the relationship between egocentric and allocentric spatial memory performance among patients with chronic HF;to determine if there are differences in spatial memory performance between women and men and if spatial memory performance is associated with age;to determine the combination of biological factors (age and sex) and environmental factors (cognitive, social, and physical activities) associated with egocentric and allocentric spatial memory performance among patients with chronic HF. The proposed research project addresses the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) priorities to examine biological and behavioral factors that contribute to chronic conditions, relationships of the factors, potential means to improve the conditions, and interventions that may assist individuals living with chronic conditions. Twenty-three men and twenty-three women will be recruited from the University of Michigan HF clinic. Participants will complete neuropsychological tests aimed at measuring impaired memory, specifically spatial memory. Descriptive statistics, including frequencies, means, standard deviation, and range will be computed on demographics. To measure aspects of spatial ability and memory five tests will be administered in this research project including the Mini-Mental State Examination, Trail Making Test Parts A and B, and the CERAD Design Copy Test to examine egocentric spatial memory;and the virtual reality software program, Computer-Generated Arena, to examine allocentric spatial memory. Environmental factors will be measured using the Florida Cognitive Activities Scale and The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36. Independent measures t-test, ANOVA, chi-square, and multiple linear regression analysis will be used to examine spatial memory performance in patients with chronic HF. Relevance of research to public health: Over five million individuals are currently diagnosed with heart failure in the United States and it is predicted to continue to affect more individuals as the population ages. One quarter to one half of patients with heart failure develop problems with cognitive impairment including problems with memory. Research studies have shown improved cognitive abilities in patients who are more active, physically and mentally.