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Heritability and risk factors for perceived physical fatigability in the long life family study

LaSorda, Kelsea (2018) Heritability and risk factors for perceived physical fatigability in the long life family study. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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The new construct of fatigability—fatigue in relation to a defined activity of a specific intensity and duration—constitutes an objective metric by which to assess the degree to which someone is physically limited due to fatigue. Measuring fatigability accounts for self-pacing bias and thus provides greater capacity to assess fatigue’s role in the disablement pathway. Fatigability may also be more sensitive to interventions, particularly those targeting increased physical activity. Fatigability is an important early predictor in the disablement pathway, having been associated with poorer physical function, yet little is known about its genetic basis or association with age and sex. We examined heritability and risk factors of perceived physical fatigability using the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale (PFS, 0-50, higher score=higher fatigability) in the Long Life Family Study, a cohort of two generations of older adults enriched for familial exceptional survival. PFS scores (mean±SD) and proportion with higher fatigability (% PFS ≥15) increased across age strata: 60-69 (N=1009, 11.0+-7.6, 28%), 70-79 (N=847, 12.5+-8.1, 37%), 80-89 (N=253, 19.3+-9.9, 65.2%), and ≥90 (N=266, 28.6+-9.8, 89.5%), p<0.0001, adjusted for sex, field center, and family structure. Females reported higher perceived physical fatigability than males, with the largest difference in the 80-89 age strata, 74.8% vs. 53.5%, respectively, p<0.0001. Fatigue was significantly associated with several markers of physical function, with physical activity, and with depression. After adjustment for age, sex, and field center, the residual heritability of fatigability was 0.263 (p=6.6*10^-9). These findings are significant for public health because they identify individuals most at risk of fatigability, who should be targeted in the development of interventions.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
LaSorda, Kelseakrl66@pitt.edukrl660000-0002-7811-0723
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancy W.glynnn@edc.pitt.eduEPIDNWGUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberKuipers, Allisonkuipersa@edc.pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBoudreau, RobertBoudreauR@edc.pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberKammerer, Candacecmk3@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 23 April 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 55
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 31 May 2019 20:47
Last Modified: 01 May 2021 05:15


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