Subjective Cognitive Decline Among Older Nevadans: Population-Based Findings from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

2021 Poster ~

Jason D. Flatt, PhD, MPH ~ Assistant Professor School of Public Health, Social & Behavioral Health, University of Nevada,
Las Vegas
Dr. Jason Flatt is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Social and Behavioral Health Program. Dr. Flatt’s current research works to better understand the risk and protective factors for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias among diverse populations, including sexual and gender minority (LGBTQI+) older adults. Dr. Flatt has a NIH career award (K01) on Risk and Protective Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias for Sexual and Gender Minorities. He’s also co-PI on a pilot study from the NIA’s Research Centers Collaborative Network exploring cognition and gender trends in three American generations. He currently has 30 publications in the field of Aging, Dementia, and Sexual and Gender Minority health.

Co-Authors include: Alexandria Evans, MPA; Renato M. Liboro, PhD; Samantha E. John, PhD; and Sheniz Moonie, PhD, MS

Background: Little is known about cognitive decline among older adults living in Nevada. Population-based studies often rely on self-reported cognitive challenges or subjective cognitive decline (SCD). SCD may be an early marker of future Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Methods: We examined responses to Nevada’s SCD module from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS is an annual survey that uses random-digit dialing via cellphones and landlines to assess population health. Participants were adults aged 45+ (Unweighted N=1776; Weighted N=1,262,124; mean age: 63.9 years, range:45-80). SCD was based on reporting confusion or memory loss happening more frequently or getting worse within the past 12 months. Data were weighted to represent state-level population estimates. We computed the population-level prevalence of SCD by demographics (age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, income, living alone, and rural vs. urban counties). We also explored how SCD impacted Nevadans’ abilities to do daily activities, needing assistance, and discussing SCD with a healthcare professional.
Results: Over half identified as female, 38% identified as a racial/ethnic minority, 21% lived alone, 12% with low income.