Morbidity risks among older adults with pre-existing age-related diseases.


Multi-morbidity is common among older adults; however, for many aging-related diseases there is no information for U.S. elderly population on how earlier-manifested disease affects the risk of another disease manifested later during patient's lifetime. Quantitative evaluation of risks of cancer and non-cancer diseases for older adults with pre-existing conditions is performed using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Registry data linked to the Medicare Files of Service Use (MFSU). Using the SEER-Medicare data containing individual records for 2,154,598 individuals, we empirically evaluated age patterns of incidence of age-associated diseases diagnosed after the onset of earlier manifested disease and compared these patterns with those in general population. Individual medical histories were reconstructed using information on diagnoses coded in MFSU, dates of medical services/procedures, and Medicare enrollment/disenrollment. More than threefold increase of subsequent diseases risk was observed for 15 disease pairs, majority of them were i) diseases of the same organ and/or system (e.g., Parkinson disease for patients with Alzheimer disease, HR=3.77, kidney cancer for patients with renal failure, HR=3.28) or ii) disease pairs with primary diseases being fast-progressive cancers (i.e., lung, kidney, and pancreas), e.g., ulcer (HR=4.68) and melanoma (HR=4.15) for patients with pancreatic cancer. Lower risk of subsequent disease was registered for 20 disease pairs, mostly among patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, e.g., decreased lung cancer risk among patients with Alzheimer's (HR=0.64) and Parkinson's (HR=0.60) disease. Synergistic and antagonistic dependences in geriatric disease risks were observed among US elderly confirming known and detecting new associations of wide spectrum of age-associated diseases. The results can be used in optimization of screening, prevention and treatment strategies of chronic diseases among U.S. elderly population.





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Publication Info

Akushevich, Igor, Julia Kravchenko, Svetlana Ukraintseva, Konstantin Arbeev, Alexander Kulminski and Anatoliy I Yashin (2013). Morbidity risks among older adults with pre-existing age-related diseases. Exp Gerontol, 48(12). pp. 1395–1401. 10.1016/j.exger.2013.09.005 Retrieved from

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Igor Akushevich

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Svetlana Ukraintseva

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Dr. Ukraintseva studies causes of human aging and related decline in resilience, to identify genetic and other factors responsible for the increase in mortality risk with age eventually limiting longevity. She explores complex relationships, including trade-offs, between physiological aging-changes and risks of major diseases (with emphasis on Alzheimer’s and cancer), as well as survival, to find new genetic and other targets for anti-aging interventions and disease prevention. She also investigates possibilities of repurposing of existing vaccines and treatments for AD prevention and interventions into the aging. For this, Dr. Ukraintseva and her team use data from several large human studies containing rich genetic and phenotypic information (including longitudinal measurements) on thousands of individuals. Dr. Ukraintseva is a PI and Key Investigator on several NIH funded grants, and has more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, including in major journals such as Nature Reviews, Stroke, European Journal of Human Genetics, and some other.


Konstantin Arbeev

Associate Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Konstantin G. Arbeev received the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Moscow State University (branch in Ulyanovsk, Russia) in 1995 and the Ph.D. degree in Mathematics and Physics (specialization in Theoretical Foundations of Mathematical Modeling, Numerical Methods and Programming) from Ulyanovsk State University (Russia) in 1999. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock (Germany) before moving to Duke University in 2004 to work as a Research Scientist and a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Sociology and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).  He is currently an Associate Research Professor in SSRI. Dr. Arbeev's major research interests are related to three interconnected fields of biodemography, biostatistics and genetic epidemiology as pertains to research on aging. The focus of his research is on discovering genetic and non-genetic factors that can affect the process of aging and determine longevity and healthy lifespan. He is interested in both methodological advances in this research area as well as their practical applications to analyses of large-scale longitudinal studies with phenotypic, genetic and, recently, genomic information. Dr. Arbeev authored and co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications in these areas.


Alexander Kulminski

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Anatoli I. Yashin

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

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