Correlates of change in cognitive function in survivors from the western collaborative group study

Dorít Cannelli, Gaiy E. Swan, Asenath La Rue, Paul J. Eslinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Changes in cognitive function were investigated in 566 subjects 65–86 years old at baseline, who are a subsample of the Western Collaborative Group Study, a cardiovascular epidemiologic study of middle-aged men that began in the 1960s. Cognitive function was assessed in 1986–1988 (baseline) and again in 1992–1994 by three standardized measures: the Benton Visual Retention Test, the Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and the Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS) Test. Longitudinal change in performance was defined as the shift over time in a subject’s quartile rank ordering, using the baseline distribution of test scores as a standard.“Decliners” and“improvers” in cognitive function were subjects who lost or gained, respectively, two or more quartile ranks on all three tests combined. By this definition, 20% (n = 113) of subjects declined, compared with 17% (n = 95) who improved in cognitive performance from 1986–1988 to 1992–1994. After adjustment for age, education, and physical health, decline in cognitive performance was significantly associated with poor self-perceived health ratings, depression scale scores, and self-reports of physical activity. Rank score change in the DSS Test was the single best predictor of cognitive function at follow-up on a diverse battery of neuropsychological tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-295
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology

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