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J Aging Health. 1997 May;9(2):171-84.

Memory complaint as a predictor of cognitive decline: a comparison of African American and White elders.

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Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Of a representative, racially mixed community sample of older adults in North Carolina, 59% of Whites and 49% of African Americans reported worsening memory. The complaint about memory was positively correlated with age, depressive symptomatology, and physical function but not with level of cognitive function as measured by the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) at baseline. In a controlled analysis of longitudinal data, initial SPMSQ score, age, African American race, lower education, depressive symptomatology, and physical deficits at baseline, but not memory complaint, predicted a decline in cognitive function as measured by the SPMSQ 3 years later. Whereas African Americans were less likely to complain of deterioration in memory, actual decline as measured by the SPMSQ was greater for African Americans than for Whites.

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