Relating Sensory, Cognitive, and Neural Factors to Older Persons' Perceptions about Happiness: An Exploratory Study.
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Despite increased rates of disease, disability, and social losses with aging, seniors consistently report higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB), a construct closely related to happiness, than younger adults. In this exploratory study, we utilized an available dataset to investigate how aspects of health commonly deteriorating with age, including sensory (i.e., vision and hearing) and cognitive status, relate to variability in self-described contributors to happiness. Community-dwelling seniors (n = 114) responded to a single-item prompt: "name things that make people happy." 1731 responses were categorized into 13 domains of SWB via structured content analysis. Sensory health and cognition were assessed by Snellen visual acuity, pure-tone audiometry, and in-person administration of the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT) battery. A subset of eligible participants (n = 57) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess resting state functional connectivity (FC) within a previously described dopaminergic network associated with reward processing. SWB response patterns were relatively stable across gender, sensory status, and cognitive performance with few exceptions. For example, hearing-impaired participants listed fewer determinants of SWB (13.59 vs. 17.16; p < 0.001) and were less likely to name things in the "special events" category. Participants with a higher proportion of responses in the "accomplishments" domain (e.g., winning, getting good grades) demonstrated increased FC between the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens, regions implicated in reward and motivated behavior. While the framework for determinants of happiness among seniors was largely stable across the factors assessed here, our findings suggest that subtle changes in this construct may be linked to sensory loss. The possibility that perceptions about determinants of happiness might relate to differences in intrinsic connectivity within reward-related brain networks also warrants further investigation.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1155/2018/4930385
Publication InfoAdcock, Rachel; Potter, Guy; Lad, Eleonora; Cousins, Scott; Chen, Nan-kuei; Whitson, Heather; ... Duong Fernandez, Xuan (2018). Relating Sensory, Cognitive, and Neural Factors to Older Persons' Perceptions about Happiness: An Exploratory Study. Journal of aging research, 2018. pp. 4930385. 10.1155/2018/4930385. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18949.
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Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Adcock received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University. She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco and did neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007. Her work has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, NSF and Alfred P. Sloan and Klingenstein Fellows
Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology
Dr. Chen is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) physicist with research interest in fast image acquisition methodology, pulse sequence design, MRI artifact correction, and application of MRI to studies of neurological diseases. He has been developing novel high-resolution imaging protocols and analysis procedures for mapping structural and functional connectivity of brains. More generally, Dr. Chen's research involves the application of MRI in translational contexts. He has been serving as the pr
Robert Machemer, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmology
Scott W. Cousins, M.D. is currently the Robert Machemer, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmology and Immunology, Vice Chair for Research, and Director of the Duke Center for Macular Diseases at Duke Eye Center. As Vice Chair, he oversees all basic science research as well as the Ophthalmology Site-Based Research Group, which administrates clinical research for Duke Eye Center. Dr. Cousins is also Medical Director of Hospital-Based Imaging and Procedures for Duke Eye Center. Dr. Cousi
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Eleonora (Nora) Lad, MD, PhD is a clinician scientist and retinal ophthalmologist with the primary goal of developing novel strategies for early diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dr. Lad specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of macular diseases, such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular diseases. She is involved in clinical trials and innovative therapies for the treatment of macular diseases. Dr. Lad is committed to providing the
Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Professor of Medicine
Dr. Whitson's research is focused on improving care and health outcomes for people with multiple chronic conditions. In particular, she has interest and expertise related to the link between changes in the eye and brain (e.g., Why do cognitive and brain changes occur in the context of late-life vision loss? Is Alzheimer's Disease associated with distinctive changes in the retina, and could such changes help diagnose Alzheimer's early in its course?). Dr. Whitson is also interes
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