Funding: National Institute on Aging, 2012-2016 (1 K23 AG 040278 01 A1)
With population aging and improved stroke survival, the rates of poststroke cognitive decline (PSCD) are increasing. PSCD is associated with adverse health outcomes, increased health costs, and poorer quality of life. There is significant variability in which stroke patients develop PSCD. Many factors likely drive this variability, including age at stroke, time from stroke onset, stroke features, socio-demographics, geography, health conditions, behaviors and medical care factors. Yet, PSCD remains poorly understood. The long-term goal of this career development award is to promote the candidate?s development into a leader and independently funded physician-scientist in PSCD among older adults. The aims of this project are: 1) To determine the impact of stroke on cognitive function, both in the short-term and the long-term; 2) To determine the socio-demographic, geographic, medical, and behavioral predictors of PSCD; 3) To assess whether blood pressure or anti-hypertensive medication adherence are associated with cognitive function in stroke survivors using primary and secondary data. This project will combine data from 2 leading prospective stroke cohort studies in the US: 1) a large, geographically dispersed, race- and gender-balanced cohort of middle-aged and older adults being followed for stroke and cognitive decline and with premorbid and poststroke cognitive assessments, and 2) a population-based stroke surveillance project in a bi-ethnic community with immediate poststroke cognitive assessments. Both cohort studies have cognitive measures sensitive to PSCD and data on stroke features. This research will generate knowledge by better identifying potential mechanisms of PSCD and will assist in planning interventions to improve the care and prevention of stroke and PSCD. This research ultimately will lead to greater understanding of PSCD, better treatments, and better outcomes in older people.
The candidate, Dr. Deborah Levine, who will focus her research on the growing population of stroke survivors, will pursue a mentored research plan designed to enhance her skills in the methods needed to study PSCD. A detailed career development plan will promote the candidate?s development of expertise in four areas: 1) the analysis and conduct of longitudinal epidemiologic studies of older adults; 2) the measurement of cognitive outcomes; 3) patient treatment adherence and chronic illness interventions; and 4) geriatrics and stroke care. The career development plan consists of a multidisciplinary team of experienced mentors and advisors who will oversee a range of formal coursework and practical experiences in these areas to ensure the candidate?s future success. Exceptional resources of a top university and a mentoring team with proven success in developing junior physician-scientists in these topic areas makes the University of Michigan an ideal environment for this project.