Mild cognitive impairment and dementia are increasing as our population ages. Understanding modifiable risk factors associated with cognitive impairment can aid in planning interventions and reduce the burden of impairment in society. Understanding these risk factors at the earliest age possible will confer even greater benefits. The overall goal of the project is to assess the hypothesis that poorer performance in mid-life on a range of cognitive tests is associated with current and early life cardiovascular (CV) risk factors including hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity and dyslipidemia in a population of African-American and Caucasian young to middle-aged participants of the Bogalusa Heart Study who were also screened for CV risk factors as children.
Aim 1 : To explore the relationship between current neuropsychological functioning and current CV health and lifestyle risk factors in the young to middle-aged (range 23.8-43.5 years) population of a biracial Southern community, the Bogalusa Heart Study. This will be achieved by recruiting 200 individuals (50 of each race/gender group) of the current Bogalusa Heart Study screening and administering to them a battery of tests that assesses cognitive function. These tests include tests from the Wechsler Memory Scale, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Wide Range Achievement Test.
Aim 2 : To examine evidence of the influence early in life of CV risk factors and lifestyles from childhood to adulthood on current cognitive function in each of the four race/gender groups and in low and high CV risk groups. Longitudinal assessment of multiple screenings over time will be used. Information on current and early life CV risk factors is available on all individuals. Culturally appropriate staff members, community and church leaders and incentives will be used to assist with recruitment. Cognitive assessments of this type have not previously been performed on such a young, biracial population that has been well-researched since childhood. This unique opportunity will potentially show relationships between CV risk and cognitive function that have not been well understood in this age group. Additionally, the results of this study will add to our knowledge about when cognitive decline can be detected and when interventions should be planned. This study will explore the relationship between current neuropsychological functioning and both current and early life cardiovascular health and lifestyle risk factors in a young to middle-aged population. This will provide new information about these relationships in this age group and add to our knowledge about when these risk factors can affect neuropsychological functioning and when interventions should be planned. ? ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Neurological, Aging and Musculoskeletal Epidemiology (NAME)
Program Officer
Wagster, Molly V
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Tulane University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
New Orleans
United States
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Gruneir, Andrea; Mor, Vincent; Weitzen, Sherry et al. (2007) Where people die: a multilevel approach to understanding influences on site of death in America. Med Care Res Rev 64:351-78