The association of a novel cognitive frailty index and physical functioning in older at-risk adults

Nicole M. Armstrong, Ryan Andrews, Alden L. Gross, Vijay R. Varma, Qian Li Xue, Michelle C. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Cognitive frailty is a state at the lower end of the continuum of cognitive resilience in which one is at elevated risk for cognitive impairment and dementia. Metrics of a newly developed Cognitive Frailty Index (CFI) were examined for their association with objective functional limitations. Methods: We used baseline data from 607 participants from the Baltimore Experience Corps Trial with measures on the CFI, a computerized Stroop test, and Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) score ≤9. Multivariable log-binomial regression models were used to evaluate the associations of CFI metrics (mean reaction time (RT) for total, first-half and second-half trials per condition) with the SPPB. Latent growth models were used to create additional CFI metrics of initial level (intercept) and change (slope) in RT across accurate trials by easy (Color-X) and difficult (Color-Word) conditions. Models were adjusted for race, sex, age, income, major morbidities, depressive symptoms, self-reported health, and Stroop interference (for Color-Word condition only). Results: All CFI RT metrics were associated with SPPB <9, yet latent growth model approaches were most informative. Initial levels of performance on easy (Risk Ratio, [RR] = 1.24; 95% Confidence Interval, [CI]: 1.03, 1.49) and difficult conditions (RR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.41), not rates of learning (slope) (RR = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.81, 1.45 and RR = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.96, 1.27 respectively), were associated with worse physical functioning. Conclusions: The association between the CFI and physical functioning demonstrates the interplay of cognitive frailty and worse objective mobility within a sociodemographic at-risk sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Cognitive frailty
  • Short Physical Performance Battery
  • Stroop test
  • gait speed
  • mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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