Background: The Long Life Family Study (LLFS) enrolled families exhibiting exceptional longevity. The goal of this article was to determine the prevalence and predictors of remaining independent after 7 years in the oldest generation. Methods: We examined 7-year change in physical (free of activities of daily living difficulty), cognitive (Mini-Mental State Examination score ≥ 24), and overall independence (physically/cognitively independent) in adults aged 90.3 ± 6.3 from LLFS's oldest generation. Potential predictors (n = 28) of remaining independent included demographics, diseases, biomarkers, anthropometrics, and physical and cognitive performance tasks and were determined using generalized estimating equations (α: p <. 05). This was a discovery/exploratory analysis, so no multiple testing correction was employed and the results require independent replication. Results: At baseline (n = 1442), 67.3%, 83.8%, and 79.7% were overall, physically, and cognitively independent, respectively. After 7 years, 66% died, 7.5% were lost to follow-up, and the prevalence of overall independence decreased to 59.1% in survivors (-8.2%, 95% confidence interval:-14.1%, 2.2%). Of those with baseline independence, 156/226 (69.0%) remained independent. Predictors of remaining physically independent included younger age, better Short Physical Performance Battery score and lung function, smaller waist circumference, and lower soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-product levels (p <. 05). Predictors of remaining cognitively independent included no cancer history, better Digit Symbol Substitution Test performance, and higher body weight (p <. 05). Conclusions: The prevalence of independence decreased by only 8.2% after 7 years, demonstrating the close correspondence between disability and mortality. Further, despite a mean baseline age of 90 years, a large proportion of survivors remained independent, suggesting this exceptional subgroup may harbor protective mechanisms.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - Apr 17 2020|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA; U01-AG023712, U01-AG23744, U01-AG023746, U01-AG023749, U01-AG023755, and P01-AG08761). A.J.S was supported by a career development award from the Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (P30 AG024827) and National Institute of Health/NIA (K01 AG057726).
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