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Author Notes:

Correspondence to: F. C. Goldstein, PhD, E-mail: fgoldst@emory.edu

Supported by the Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (NIH-NIA 5 P50 AG025688).

Information upon which this work is based is from the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute and the Center for Health Discovery and Well Being Cohort, and is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (UL1 TR000454).

Conflict of Interest: None declared.


Research Funding:

Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Grant Number: NIH-NIA 5 P50 AG025688

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: UL1 TR000454


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Geriatrics & Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Psychiatry
  • inflammation
  • cytokines
  • African Americans
  • race
  • cognition

Inflammation and cognitive functioning in African Americans and Caucasians


Journal Title:

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry


Volume 30, Number 9


, Pages 934-941

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Objective: To examine associations between inflammation and cognitive performance in African Americans and Caucasians. Methods: The sample included 59 African Americans and 219 Caucasians ≥50years old who had a baseline visit at the Emory/Georgia Tech Center for Health Discovery and Well Being. Peripheral levels of inflammation (interleukin-6, interleukin-8, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α) were examined in relation to performance on tests of visual processing (Identify the Odd Pattern), attention (Digit Span Forward), visuomotor set shifting (Digit Symbol Substitution), verbal set shifting (Digit Span Backwards), and memory (Recall a Pattern). Results: Multiple regression models adjusting for potential demographic and vascular/metabolic confounders were conducted, with markers of inflammation included as either continuous or categorical (quartiles) variables. There were significant interactions between IL-8 and race for the Recall a Pattern (p=.006) and the Digit Symbol Substitution (p=.014) tests. Race-specific analyses (using a continuous variable for IL-8) demonstrated slower response times on the Recall a Pattern and Digit Symbol Substitution tests for African Americans but not for Caucasians. Categorical analyses among African Americans indicated that all of the top three quartiles of IL-8 were associated with slower reaction times on the Recall a Pattern test compared to the lowest quartile, while for Digit Symbol, the highest quartile of IL-8 was associated with the slowest cognitive performance. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest a stronger association between IL-8 and cognitive performance in African Americans than Caucasians. This relationship should be further examined in larger samples that are followed over time.

Copyright information:

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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