The typical older adult experiences declines in brain structure and cognitive function, but these mean declines occur in the context of what can be very different individual trajectories. The purpose of this project is to measure individual differences and changes in self-regulation (control of thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and impulses) over time in older adults, and to link self-regulation to physical activity, inflammation, and trajectories of neurocognitive health relevant to development of Alzheimer?s disease. This is a competing renewal of this longitudinal study, which began in 2001 and received R01 funding in 2006, submitted by a research team with expertise in aging, self-regulation, exercise science, neuropsychology, neuroimaging, Alzheimer?s disease, and longitudinal design and analysis. The previous renewal period focused on relationships among facets of self-regulation and their relationship to immunological and cardiovascular health. The renewal continues assessment of these measures to provide continuity in this longitudinal dataset and adds innovation in the inclusion of repeated neuroimaging and assessment of infectious disease burden. Specifically, the aims of the study are: (1) to test the effects of facets of self-regulation (conscientiousness, self-regulation, executive cognitive function, and heart rate variability) on measures of neurocognitive health associated with aging and risk for Alzheimer?s disease; (2) to test the degree to which the relationship between self-regulation and neurocognitive health is mediated by physical activity and inflammation; (3) to test whether neurocognitive health associated with executive cognitive functions (e.g., dorsolateral frontal lobe volume) contributes to better self-regulation, higher physical activity, and lower inflammation; and (4) to test effects of infectious disease burden (latent viruses, Toxoplasma gondii) on self-regulation, inflammation, and neurocognitive health and risk for Alzheimer?s disease. At 6-month intervals, older adults (N = 175) will complete measures of self-reported self-regulation; executive cognitive functions including inhibition, shifting, and working memory; and resting HRV. Physical activity, BMI, and waist circumference will be measured at each visit. Blood draws will be synchronized with these visits, and assays performed on these samples will capture serum proinflammatory cytokines and antibodies against latent infections. The sample has follow-back data on many of these measures from 1-15 years, and an eligible subset (N = 90) will already have baseline neuroimaging. Neuroimaging will be repeated twice at 2-year intervals. This renewal will be innovative in its longitudinal assessment of a dynamic system that includes brain, behavior, and immunity; integration of neuroimaging measures with other domains of healthy and unhealthy aging; and multimodal assessment of neurocognitive health, including measures associated with risk for Alzheimer?s disease and other dementias: subjective cognitive health, cognitive function, volumetric imaging measures, connectivity, fractional anisotropy, and resting cerebral blood flow.

Public Health Relevance

With age come changes in the brain that can increase the risk of cognitive decline and neurological disease. However, not all older adults experience these changes to the same degree. This project will continue to track a cohort of older adults, examining psychological and immunological factors that may be protective for brain and cognitive health and vice versa.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health Study Section (MESH)
Program Officer
King, Jonathan W
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University of Kentucky
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Geiger, Paul J; Morey, Jennifer N; Segerstrom, Suzanne C (2017) Beliefs about savoring in older adulthood: Aging and perceived health affect temporal components of perceived savoring ability. Pers Individ Dif 105:164-169
Reed, Rebecca G; Greenberg, Richard N; Segerstrom, Suzanne C (2017) Cytomegalovirus serostatus, inflammation, and antibody response to influenza vaccination in older adults: The moderating effect of beta blockade. Brain Behav Immun 61:14-20
Segerstrom, Suzanne C; Reed, Rebecca G; Scott, April B (2017) Intelligence and Interleukin-6 in Older Adults: The Role of Repetitive Thought. Psychosom Med 79:757-762
Arnberg, Filip K; Lekander, Mats; Morey, Jennifer N et al. (2016) Self-rated health and interleukin-6: Longitudinal relationships in older adults. Brain Behav Immun 54:226-232
Segerstrom, Suzanne C; Hardy, Jaime K; Evans, Daniel R et al. (2016) Briefly Assessing Repetitive Thought Dimensions: Valence, Purpose, and Total. Assessment 23:614-23
Segerstrom, Suzanne C; Geiger, Paul J; Boggero, Ian A et al. (2016) Endogenous Cortisol Exposure and Declarative Verbal Memory: A Longitudinal Study of Healthy Older Adults. Psychosom Med 78:182-91
Boggero, Ian A; Eisenlohr-Moul, Tory; Segerstrom, Suzanne C (2016) Task-switching ability protects against the adverse effects of pain on health: A longitudinal study of older adults. Br J Health Psychol 21:434-50
Segerstrom, Suzanne C; Geiger, Paul J; Combs, Hannah L et al. (2016) Time perspective and social preference in older and younger adults: Effects of self-regulatory fatigue. Psychol Aging 31:594-604
Morey, Jennifer N; Boggero, Ian A; Scott, April B et al. (2015) Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Curr Opin Psychol 5:13-17
Evans, Daniel R; Segerstrom, Suzanne C (2015) Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms Interact to Predict Executive Functioning Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Exp Aging Res 41:534-45

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