Effects of health status on word finding in aging

Martin L. Albert, Avron Spiro, Keely J. Sayers, Jason A. Cohen, Christopher B. Brady, Mira Goral, Loraine K. Obler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate effects of health status on word-finding difficulty in aging, adjusting for the known contributors of education, sex, and ethnicity. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: Community. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred eighty-four adults aged 55 to 85 (48.6% female) participating in an ongoing longitudinal study of language in aging. MEASUREMENTS: Medical, neurological, and laboratory evaluations to determine health status and presence or absence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Lexical retrieval evaluated with the Boston Naming Test (BNT) and Action Naming Test. RESULTS: Unadjusted regression models showed that presence of diabetes mellitus was not related to naming. Presence of hypertension was associated with significantly lower accuracy on both tasks (P<.02). Adjustment for demographics attenuated the effect of hypertension (P<.08). For the BNT, a variable combining presence, treatment, and control of hypertension was marginally significant (P<.10), with subjects with uncontrolled hypertension being least accurate (91.4%). Previously observed findings regarding the effects of age, education, sex, and ethnicity were confirmed. CONCLUSION: In this sample of older adults, hypertension contributed to the word-finding difficulty of normal aging, but diabetes mellitus did not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2300-2305
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Aging
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of health status on word finding in aging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Albert, M. L., Spiro, A., Sayers, K. J., Cohen, J. A., Brady, C. B., Goral, M., & Obler, L. K. (2009). Effects of health status on word finding in aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57(12), 2300-2305. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02559.x