Pilot Projects

Measuring Alzheimer's Disease in Arabic-Speaking Populations (Ajrouch)
The incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) is higher among many racial/ ethnic minorities, but rates among Arab Americans, who exhibit more cardiovascular and other risk factors than whites, are unknown. . The first of its kind, this pilot study will translate and validate established measures of cognition, function and behavior commonly used in MCI and ADRD diagnosis as they apply to aging Arab Americans. 2018.

Vision Impairment, Participation and Subjective Wellbeing in Older Adults (Ehrlich)
Blindness and vision impairment affect 1 in 11 adults over age 65 in the United States. Among older adults, vision impairment is associated with loss of independence, decreased quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality. However, community and social participation, which is important for maintaining subjective wellbeing and satisfaction with everyday life, has not been well-studied in visually impaired older adults. We hypothesize that vision impairment is associated with poorer subjective wellbeing and that this association is mediated through declines in participation, which will be most evident in those with specific forms of activity limitation. 2018.

The prevalence, distribution and correlates of disability and comorbidity in the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander aging population: results of a population-based study (Panapasa)
The proposed project will conduct a systematic analysis of the first national study on NHPI's 2014 Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander-National Health Interview Survey (NHPI-NHIS) to understand the burden of disease and disability among the aging NHPI population. Recent studies show NHPIs disproportionately affected by chronic illness such as diabetes, obesity, disability,mortality, and access to healthcare. This project will provide important baseline information on the aged NHPI population and inform future directions for research, intervention, and policy. 2018.

Examining the role of housing tenure and health on aging populations in the U.S. (Mehdipanah)
This pilot study examines the relation between housing characteristics and health among older Americans. Using the 2014 Health and Retirement Study, we hypothesize that in disinvested neighborhoods, homeownership will have a protective effect over negative health outcomes. However, we also hypothesis that regardless of ownership or renting status, individuals living in affordable housing and good housing conditions are less likely to experience negative health outcomes. 2018.

How do socioeconomic status, behaviors, and age interact to produce death risks? (Mehta)
This research evaluates the nature of interactions between two key socio-demographic variables (educational attainment, race/ethnicity) and two key behavioral risk factors(obesity and smoking) to determine whether the two sets of risk factors operate additively or multiplicatively with each to influence the chance of dying. 2017.

Multimorbidity Patterns in Aging Couples: Longitudinal Associations with Functional Disability (Polenick)
Using data from ten waves (1996 to 2014) of the Health and Retirement Studies, we will examine patterns of multimorbidity both within and between spouses, focusing on concordance in the management activities required by multiple conditions. 2017.

Chronic diseases and physical functioning: Development and validation of an ICD-coded multimorbidity index (Wei)
The proposed studies will use unique data linkages between granular patient-reported outcomes in the nationally-representative Health and Retirement Study and Medicare claims to develop and internally validate a multimorbidity index for International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-coded chronic conditions weighted to physical functioning. The successful completion of these studies will yield a validated multimorbidity measure that captures the impact of coexisting chronic diseases on physical functioning in aging adults relevant for clinical care, research, and policy. 2017.

Cognitive resilience to depressive symptoms in diverse older adults (Zahodne)
Significant knowledge gaps regarding the depression-dementia link include modifiable factors that attenuate this link and reasons for differences in resilience across racial groups. The proposed research will address each of these gaps by recruiting a racially diverse, population-representative sample of older adults for psychosocial, cognitive, and functional assessment and examining how modifiable psychosocial resources that differ across race promote cognitive resilience to depressive symptoms in a flexible structural equation modeling framework. 2017.

Rural Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment and Chronic Disease: A Mixed Methods Study of Social and Health Factors in Their Care (Cigolle)
The proposed pilot will perform a mixed-methods study of older adults with dementia in rural Michigan. The pilot will address how rural older adults with dementia are cared for in their communities, as viewed by primary care physicians in those communities. 2016.

Muscle weakness among older adults: A silent epidemic (Clarke)
The current proposal will chart new territory in investigating the long-term health consequences of dynapenia to: 1) predict whether individuals who fall below these proposed cut-points are at risk for developing future negative health outcomes; 2) examine proposed cut-points in predicting future health risks above and beyond traditional indicators of morbidity and mortality; and 3) understand the role obesity may play in exacerbating future negative health outcomes among those who are considered weak. 2016.

Cholinergic genetic effects on health and cognition in older adults: Longitudinal analysis (Lustig)
Using the HRS representative sample of approximately 20,000 Americans over the age of 50, we will examine how limits in cholinergic function are related to changes in measurements of attention, memory, and cognitive status and physiological health across multiple time points. 2016.

Demographic and socioeconomic differences in polygenic risk of cardiovascular health in the Health and Retirement Study (Schmitz) 2016.

Changes in Health and Longevity over the 20th Century: Evidence from North Carolina (Bailey) 2015.

The Effects of Collection Procedures on Telomere Length (Faul) 2015.

Understanding Recent Change in Gender Differences in Life Expectancy among Adults in Wealthy Countries (Burgard) 2014.

Applying Whole Genome data to Common Social Science Issues (Mitchell) 2014.

Past Pilot Projects

View past MiCDA Pilot Projects