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Alzheimers Dement. 2009 May;5(3):276-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2008.09.003.

Concordance rates for cognitive impairment among older African American twins.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. kwhit1@duke.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is significant attention to the growing elderly African American population and estimating who and how many within this population will be affected by cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVE:

The etiology of cognitive impairment has not been well studied in African Americans and the contribution of genetic and environmental influences to cognitive impairment is not clear.

METHODS:

We calculated concordance rates and heritability for cognitive impairment in 95 same-sexed pairs of African American twins from the Carolina African American Twin Study on Aging (CAATSA). The sample had an average age of 59.6 years (SD = 8.6 years, range 50-88 years) and 60% were female. The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) was used to assess cognitive impairment with a lower cutoff based on our previous research with African Americans.

RESULTS:

Thirteen of the monozygotic (MZ) twins (30.2%) and 9 of the dizygotic (DZ) twins (17.3%) were cognitively impaired. The concordance rate was 72% for MZ and 45% for DZ. We found the heritability for cognitive impairment to be 54%.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study findings indicate that cognitive impairment is highly heritable, suggesting that genetics may play a relatively large role in the development of cognitive impairment in African American twins.

PMID:
19426952
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2696402
Free PMC Article
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