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Arterial Stiffness, Functional Decline and Mortality Risk in Older Adults

Watson, Nora L (2010) Arterial Stiffness, Functional Decline and Mortality Risk in Older Adults. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A hallmark of vascular aging, central arterial stiffness is the primary determinant of hypertension in older adults and an important predictor of cardiovascular events and mortality. Few studies of older adults have evaluated the longitudinal association of arterial stiffness with cognitive and physical declines, two common consequences of vascular disease. We sought to characterize the relationships among aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of central arterial stiffness, cognitive and physical declines and mortality risk among community-dwelling older adults participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study. In an analysis of the Health ABC Cognitive Vitality Substudy, poorer performances in several cognitive domains were associated with accelerated gait speed decline, consistent with a shared cerebrovascular pathogenesis underlying cognitive and physical declines in aging. A second analysis of the substudy identified PWV as a predictor of longitudinal decline in psychomotor speed; this domain-specific association may reflect a vulnerability of the deep white matter to cerebral microvascular disease in the presence of aortic stiffness. In an analysis of the full Health ABC cohort, higher PWV was independently associated with slower gait at baseline and throughout the study period in participants with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), suggesting synergistic roles of arterial stiffness and PAD in mobility decline. Finally, in the full cohort rates of decline in the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MS) and gait speed predicted mortality independent of each other, baseline performance and risk factors, demonstrating a prognostic value for repeated assessments of both cognitive and physical performance in initially well-functioning older adults. The public health relevance of these findings is the potentially clinically important influence of central arterial stiffness to both cognitive and physical function, two central facets of successful aging.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Watson, Nora
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNewman, Annenewmana@edc.pitt.eduANEWMAN
Committee MemberRosano, Caterinarosanoc@edc.pitt.eduCAR2350
Committee MemberTyrrell, Kim
Committee MemberBoudreau, Robertboudreaur@edc.pitt.eduROB21
Committee MemberHardy, Susanseh46@pitt.eduSEH46
Date: 28 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 January 2010
Approval Date: 28 June 2010
Submission Date: 15 March 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: arterial stiffness; cognitive decline; aging; gait speed
Other ID:, etd-03152010-174843
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:32
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:37


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