Medical Research: What are the main findings of the paper?
Dr. Rajan: Lower levels of cognitive functioning was associated with incident stroke and the change in cognitive functioning was increased after incident stroke. Cognitive functioning was an independent marker of mortality even after accounting for incident stroke.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Rajan: The strength of associations were stronger than expected.
Medical Research: What should clinicians take away from this report?
Dr. Rajan: Cognitive functioning and stroke are two important markers for mortality. A lower level of cognitive functioning can also impact stroke risk, while stroke has long-term impact on cognitive functioning. Both cognitive change and stroke increase mortality risk.
Medical Research: What recommendations for future studies do you have as a result of this work?
Dr. Rajan: First, we would like independent confirmation of our findings in both European and African American populations. Second, studies examining the underlying biological mechanisms might help us better understand the aging process.