Genes Related to Education Predict Frailty Among Older Adults in the United States.

TitleGenes Related to Education Predict Frailty Among Older Adults in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHuibregtse, BM, Newell-Stamper, BL, Domingue, BW, Boardman, JD
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsEducation, Functional health status, Genetics, Successful aging

OBJECTIVE: This article expands on research that links education and frailty among older adults by considering the role of genes associated with education.

METHOD: Data come from a sample of 7,064 non-Hispanic, white adults participating in the 2004-2012 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Frailty was measured with two indices: (a) The Frailty Index which corresponds to a deficit accumulation model; and (b) The Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index which corresponds to the biological syndrome/phenotype model. Genes associated with education were quantified using an additive polygenic score. Associations between the polygenic score and frailty indices were tested using a series of multilevel models, controlling for multiple observations for participants across waves.

RESULTS: Results showed a strong and negative association between genes for education and frailty symptoms in later life. This association exists above and beyond years of completed education and we demonstrate that this association becomes weaker as older adults approach their 80s.

DISCUSSION: The results contribute to the education-health literature by highlighting new and important pathways through which education might be linked to successful aging.

Citation Key11378
PubMed ID31362310
PubMed Central IDPMC7756716
Grant ListT32 AG052371 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States