A Model of Cognitive Decline Using Data from a Longitudinal Study of Aging: The Variable of Difficulty in Managing Money as a Function of Typical Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Factors

By Gerardo Soto-Campos.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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We used data from four bi-yearly interviews, from 1984 to 1990, in a longitudinal study of aging (LSOA) to build a model where the dependent variable, difficulty in managing money, was used as a proxy for cognitive decline. We analyzed its multiple correlation with a set of independent risk factors: age, presence of coronary heart disease (CHD), history of myocardial infarction (MI), history of stroke, diabetes status, history of Alzheimer’s disease, and body mass index. The data was analyzed with the statistical software R, and empty fields were imputed with the last observation carried forward (LOCF). We also removed the people at baseline who had difficulty managing their money, leaving a population of N = 4994 individuals older than 70 years of age. The only significant variables found in our stepwise regression were age and diabetes status. We did not attempt a cross validation of this model, but instead generated the receiver operation characteristic (ROC) curve and its area under the curve (AROC). The value found for AROC was 0.63. A practical application of the model is provided. The author and his collaborators are currently applying the methodology presented in this paper to data bases more suited for cognitive-decline.

Keywords: Cognitive Decline, Money Management, Logit Model

Aging and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.65-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 548.440KB).

Dr. Gerardo Soto-Campos

Founder and Senior Consultant, Modeling Health, Los Angeles, LLC, CA, USA

Gerardo Soto-Campos holds a Ph.D in physical chemistry from the University of Oregon. He did post-doctoral studies in physical chemistry at UCLA in Los Angeles, and published several scientific papers in the general area of statistical physics. In 1999 he began to work in the medical industry and has held several positions varying in degree of complexity, from mathematical modeler to senior scientist, to director of validations and head of the diabetes modeling team at a research company based in San Francisco, CA. After June 2010, the emphasis of his former company changed from research to internet services. He then decided to create a scientific consulting start up in April 2011, Modeling Health, LLC. He has worked in cardiovascular and metabolic modeling for many years, but lately he has been almost exclusively engaged in cognitive modeling since he believes studies in cognitive decline and dementia will become crucially important, not only in terms of research and public health, but also equally important in terms of the financial and sociological impact that the baby boomer retirees undergoing cognitive diseases will place on Medicare and other tax-paid services in the US.