Cretan Aging Cohort-Phase III: Methodology and Descriptive Characteristics of a Long-Term Longitudinal Study on Predictors of Cognitive Decline in Non-Demented Elderly from Crete, Greece

Maria Basta, Eleni Skourti, Christina Alexopoulou, Alexandros Zampetakis, Andronikos Ganiaris, Marina Aligizaki, Panagiotis Simos, Alexandros N. Vgontzas

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Identifying modifiable factors that may predict long-term cognitive decline in the elderly with adequate daily functionality is critical. Such factors may include poor sleep quality and quantity, sleep-related breathing disorders, inflammatory cytokines and stress hormones, as well as mental health problems. This work reports the methodology and descriptive characteristics of a long-term, multidisciplinary study on modifiable risk factors for cognitive status progression, focusing on the 7-year follow-up. Participants were recruited from a large community-dwelling cohort residing in Crete, Greece (CAC; Cretan Aging Cohort). Baseline assessments were conducted in 2013–2014 (Phase I and II, circa 6-month time interval) and follow-up in 2020–2022 (Phase III). In total, 151 individuals completed the Phase III evaluation. Of those, 71 were cognitively non-impaired (CNI group) in Phase II and 80 had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). In addition to sociodemographic, lifestyle, medical, neuropsychological, and neuropsychiatric data, objective sleep was assessed based on actigraphy (Phase II and III) and home polysomnography (Phase III), while inflammation markers and stress hormones were measured in both phases. Despite the homogeneity of the sample in most sociodemographic indices, MCI persons were significantly older (mean age = 75.03 years, SD = 6.34) and genetically predisposed for cognitive deterioration (APOE ε4 allele carriership). Also, at follow-up, we detected a significant increase in self-reported anxiety symptoms along with a substantial rise in psychotropic medication use and incidence of major medical morbidities. The longitudinal design of the CAC study may provide significant data on possible modifiable factors in the course of cognitive progression in the community-dwelling elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number703
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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