A novel aging phenotype of slow gait, impaired executive function, and depressive symptoms: Relationship to blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks

Ihab Hajjar, Frances Yang, Farzaneh Sorond, Richard N. Jones, William Milberg, L. Adrienne Cupples, Lewis A. Lipsitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations


Background. Our objectives were to investigate the existence of a group of nondemented elderly individuals who simultaneously have impairments in cognition, mobility, and mood, and to examine the association between being a member of this group and elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. Methods. The Maintenance of Balance, Independent Living, Intellect, and Zest in the Elderly of Boston study is an ongoing prospective observational study of community-dwelling individuals. We analyzed the cross-sectional data collected at baseline (N = 580, mean age = 77.8 years, 64% women, 14% African American, mean Mini-Mental State Examination = 27.2). Using latent profile analysis, we investigated the existence of a group of elderly participants with impairments in executive function (Trail Making Test Part B [TMT-B]), gait speed (two 4-m walk tests), and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale [CES-D]). Results. We identified a group (n = 99 [17%]) with prolonged TMT-B, slow gait speed, and high CES-D scores. This group did not exist when we used a memory measure. Hypertension (p =.001), diabetes (p =.0002), congestive heart failure (p =.006), stroke (p =.005), and higher Framingham cardiovascular risk score (p =.0001) were associated with an increased likelihood of being a member in this group. This association with elevated systolic and pulse pressure, and stroke remained significant after multiple covariate adjustments. Conclusions. There exists a group of elderly individuals in whom poor executive function, slow gait speed, and depressive symptoms occur simultaneously. Memory measures did not identify such a grouping. Elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases are independently associated with being a member of this group. Assessing these domains is an important part of the evaluation of the elderly patients with high vascular risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)994-1001
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009



  • Blood pressure
  • Cognitive function
  • Depression
  • Executive function
  • Gait speed
  • Vascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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