Sarah Tomaszewski Farias

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States

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Publications (76)409.57 Total impact

  • Karen M Lau · Mili Parikh · Danielle J Harvey · Chun-Jung Huang · Sarah Tomaszewski Farias ·
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    ABSTRACT: Older adults with early forms of neurodegenerative disease are at risk for functional disability, which is often defined by the loss of independence in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). The current study investigated the influence of mild changes in everyday functional abilities (referred to as functional limitations) on risk for development of incident functional disability. A total of 407 participants, who were considered cognitively normal or diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at baseline, were followed longitudinally over an average 4.1 years (range=0.8–9.2 years). Informant-based ratings from the Everyday Cognition (ECog; Farias et al., 2008) and the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (Lawton & Brody, 1969) scales assessed the degree of functional limitations and incident IADL disability, respectively. Cox proportional hazards models revealed that more severe functional limitations (as measured by the Total ECog score) at baseline were associated with approximately a four-fold increased risk of developing IADL disability a few years later. Among the ECog domains, functional limitations in Everyday Planning, Everyday Memory, and Everyday Visuospatial domains were associated with the greatest risk of incident functional disability. These results remained robust even after controlling for participants’ neuropsychological functioning on tests of executive functions and episodic memory. Current findings indicate that early functional limitations have prognostic value in identifying older adults at risk for developing functional disability. Findings highlight the importance of developing interventions to support everyday abilities related to memory, executive function, and visuospatial skills in an effort to delay loss of independence in IADLs. ( JINS , 2015, 21 , 1–11)
    Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 09/2015; 21(9):1-11. DOI:10.1017/S1355617715000818 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Importance Vitamin D (VitD) deficiency is associated with brain structural abnormalities, cognitive decline, and incident dementia.Objective To assess associations between VitD status and trajectories of change in subdomains of cognitive function in a cohort of ethnically diverse older adults.Design, Setting, and Participants Longitudinal multiethnic cohort study of 382 participants in an outpatient clinic enrolled between February 2002 and August 2010 with baseline assessment and yearly follow-up visits. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) was measured, with VitD status defined as the following: deficient, less than 12 ng/mL (to convert to nanomoles per liter, multiply by 2.496); insufficient, 12 to less than 20 ng/mL; adequate, 20 to less than 50 ng/mL; or high, 50 ng/mL or higher. Subdomains of cognitive function were assessed using the Spanish and English Neuropsychological Assessment Scales. Associations were evaluated between 25-OHD levels (as continuous and categorical [deficient, insufficient, or adequate]) and trajectories of cognitive decline.Main Outcomes and Measures Serum 25-OHD levels, cognitive function, and associations between 25-OHD levels and trajectories of cognitive decline.Results Participants (N = 382 at baseline) had a mean (SD) age of 75.5 (7.0) years; 61.8% were women; and 41.4% were white, 29.6% African American, 25.1% Hispanic, and 3.9% other race/ethnicity. Diagnosis at enrollment included 17.5% with dementia, 32.7% with mild cognitive impairment, and 49.5% cognitively normal. The mean (SD) 25-OHD level was 19.2 (11.7) ng/mL, with 26.2% of participants being VitD deficient and 35.1% insufficient. The mean (SD) 25-OHD levels were significantly lower for African American and Hispanic participants compared with white participants (17.9 [15.8] and 17.2 [8.4] vs 21.7 [10.0] ng/mL, respectively; P < .001 for both). The mean (SD) 25-OHD levels were similarly lower in the dementia group compared with the mild cognitive impairment and cognitively normal groups (16.2 [9.4] vs 20.0 [10.3] and 19.7 [13.1] ng/mL, respectively; P = .006). The mean (SD) follow-up was 4.8 (2.5) years. Rates of decline in episodic memory and executive function among VitD-deficient (episodic memory: β = −0.04 [SE = 0.02], P = .049; executive function: β = −0.05 [SE = 0.02], P = .01) and VitD-insufficient (episodic memory: β = −0.06 [SE = 0.02], P < .001; executive function: β = −0.04 [SE = 0.02], P = .008) participants were greater than those with adequate status after controlling for age, sex, education, ethnicity, body mass index, season of blood draw, vascular risk, and apolipoprotein E4 genotype. Vitamin D status was not significantly associated with decline in semantic memory or visuospatial ability. Exclusion of participants with dementia did not substantially affect the associations between VitD status and rates of cognitive decline.Conclusions and Relevance Low VitD status was associated with accelerated decline in cognitive function domains in ethnically diverse older adults, including African American and Hispanic individuals who exhibited a high prevalence of VitD insufficiency or deficiency. It remains to be determined whether VitD supplementation slows cognitive decline.
    09/2015; DOI:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2115
  • Lovingly Q Park · Danielle Harvey · Julene Johnson · Sarah T Farias ·
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are 2 neurodegenerative diseases with differing cognitive and neuropathologic profiles. Although both diseases ultimately result in functional disability, differences in the profiles of everyday functioning between the 2 groups have not been well characterized. The present study examines potential differences in the types of everyday functional limitations present in these 2 dementias. The present study compared individuals with AD (N=240) or FTD (N=13). The Everyday Cognition (ECog) scale was used to measure distinct domains of everyday cognition: everyday memory, everyday language, everyday visuospatial ability, and a variety of everyday executive abilities. A total ECog score was used to represent global disability level. The groups showed equivalent levels of global disability. However, AD group exhibited worse Everyday Memory and Everyday Visuospatial abilities than the FTD group. Contrary to expectation, FTD was not more impaired in everyday executive abilities. Results remained similar when accounting for severity of cognitive impairment or disease duration. Findings suggest that a somewhat different pattern of everyday functional difficulties can be seen across dementia types.
    Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 01/2015; 29(4). DOI:10.1097/WAD.0000000000000081 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is recognized that individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) already demonstrate difficulty in aspects of daily functioning, which predicts disease progression. This study examined the relationship between self- versus informant-report of functional ability, and how those reports relate to objective disease measures across the disease spectrum (i.e. cognitively normal, MCI, Alzheimer's disease). A total of 1080 subjects with self- and/or informant-rated Everyday Cognition questionnaires were included. Objective measures included cognitive functioning, structural brain atrophy, cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities, and a marker of amyloid deposition using positron emission tomography with [18F]AV45 (florbetapir). Overall, informant-report was consistently more associated with objective markers of disease than self-report although self-reported functional status may still have some utility in early disease.
    Alzheimer's and Dementia 11/2014; 11(9). DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.09.002 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Assessment of daily functions affected by cognitive loss in prodromal Huntington's disease (HD) is necessary in practice and clinical trials. We evaluated baseline and longitudinal sensitivity of the Everyday Cognition (ECog) scales in prodromal HD and compared self- and companion-ratings. Method: Everyday cognition was self-assessed by 850 participants with prodromal HD and 768 companions. We examined internal structure using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on baseline data. For longitudinal analysis, we stratified participants into Low, Medium, and High disease progression groups. We examined ECog scores for group differences and participant-and-companion differences using linear mixed effects regression (LMER). Comparison with the Total Functional Capacity (TFC) scale was made. Results: CFA revealed good fit of a 5-factor model having a global factor (total score), and subfactors (subscales) of memory, language, visuospatial perception, and executive function. At study entry, participants and companions in the Medium and High groups reported significantly worsened everyday cognition as well as significant functional decline over time. Losses became more pronounced and participant and companion ratings diverged as individuals progressed. TFC showed significant functional loss over time in the High group but not in the Medium group. Conclusions: Disease progression is associated with reduced self- and companion-reported everyday cognition in prodromal HD participants who are less than 13 years to estimated motor onset. Our findings suggest companion ratings are more sensitive than participants' for detecting longitudinal change in daily cognitive function. ECog appears more sensitive to specific functional changes in the prodrome of HD than the TFC.
    Neuropsychology 07/2014; 29(2). DOI:10.1037/neu0000102 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The everyday functional capacities of older adults are determined by multiple factors. The primary goal of the present study was to evaluate whether apathy and depression have unique influences on degree of functional impairment, independent of the effects of specific cognitive impairments. Participants included 344 older adults (199 normal, 87 with MCI, 58 with dementia). The Everyday Cognition (ECog) scales were used to measure both global and domain-specific functional abilities. Neuropsychiatric symptoms of depression and apathy were measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), and specific neuropsychological domains measured included episodic memory and executive functioning. Results indicated that worse memory and executive function, as well as greater depression and apathy, were all independent and additive determinants of poorer functional abilities. Apathy had a slightly more restricted effect than the other variables across the specific functional domains assessed. Secondary analysis suggested that neuropsychiatric symptoms may be more strongly associated with everyday function within cognitively normal and MCI groups, while cognitive impairment is more strongly associated with everyday function in dementia. Thus, a somewhat different set of factors may be associated with functional status across various clinical groups.
    The Clinical Neuropsychologist 02/2014; 28(2). DOI:10.1080/13854046.2013.876101 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives.Poor quality of early life conditions has been associated with poorer late life cognition and increased risk of dementia. Early life physical development can be captured using adult measures of height and head circumference. Availability of resources may be reflected by socioeconomic indicators, such as parental education and family size. We sought to determine the association between early life development and experience and late life semantic memory, episodic memory, and executive functioning abilities, as well as rate of cognitive decline.Method.This study was conducted using the UC Davis Aging Diversity cohort, an ethnically diverse sample of Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic individuals from northern California. We used latent variable modeling to measure growth and childhood socioeconomic environment (SES) and examine their associations with longitudinal cognitive outcomes using mixed effects modeling. Growth was positively related to higher childhood SES. Higher childhood SES was associated with better semantic memory. Both low growth and low SES were associated with increased rate of cognitive decline.Discussion.These findings demonstrate that early life experiences influence the trajectory of cognitive aging. Early life development and experience appears to provide a distal basis upon which additional risk and protective factors interact in the development of dementia.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 01/2014; 70(4). DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbt126 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine longitudinal trajectories of everyday functional limitations by diagnostic stability/progression. Older adults (N = 384) were followed an average 3.6 years; participants were grouped by diagnosis at study baseline and last follow-up (normal cognition, Mild Cognitive Impairment, or dementia at each time point). At study baseline there were clear group differences; most notably among participants initially characterized as cognitively normal, those who developed Mild Cognitive Impairment or dementia over follow-up already demonstrated greater functional impairment compared with those who remained cognitively normal. Change in functional impairment progressed slowly in the early disease groups, but showed an accelerated worsening in those converting to dementia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychology and Aging 12/2013; 28(4):1070-5. DOI:10.1037/a0034069 · 2.73 Impact Factor

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P429. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.845 · 12.41 Impact Factor

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2013; 9(4):P60-P62. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.05.102 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To evaluate the interrater reliability of the new International Behavioural Variant FTD Criteria Consortium (FTDC) criteria for behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Methods: Twenty standardized clinical case modules were developed for patients with a range of neurodegenerative diagnoses, including bvFTD, primary progressive aphasia (nonfluent, semantic, and logopenic variant), Alzheimer disease, and Lewy body dementia. Eighteen blinded raters reviewed the modules and 1) rated the presence or absence of core diagnostic features for the FTDC criteria, and 2) provided an overall diagnostic rating. Interrater reliability was determined by κ statistics for multiple raters with categorical ratings. Results: The mean κ value for diagnostic agreement was 0.81 for possible bvFTD and 0.82 for probable bvFTD ("almost perfect agreement"). Interrater reliability for 4 of the 6 core features had "substantial" agreement (behavioral disinhibition, perseverative/compulsive, sympathy/empathy, hyperorality; κ = 0.61-0.80), whereas 2 had "moderate" agreement (apathy/inertia, neuropsychological; κ = 0.41-0.6). Clinician years of experience did not significantly influence rater accuracy. Conclusions: The FTDC criteria show promise for improving the diagnostic accuracy and reliability of clinicians and researchers. As disease-altering therapies are developed, accurate differential diagnosis between bvFTD and other neurodegenerative diseases will become increasingly important.
    Neurology 05/2013; 80(21). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0b013e318293e368 · 8.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate how demographic variables relate to cognitive change and address whether cross-sectional demographic effects on cognitive tests are mirrored in differences in longitudinal trajectories of cognitive decline. We hypothesized that race and ethnicity, education, and language of test administration would relate to cross-sectional status and that the rate of cognitive decline would differ among African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians, across levels of educational attainment, and according to linguistic background. Participants were 404 educationally, ethnically, and cognitively diverse older adults enrolled in an ongoing longitudinal study of cognition. Mixed-effects regression analysis was used to measure baseline status and longitudinal change in episodic memory, executive functioning, and semantic memory. Results showed that ethnicity and education were strongly associated with baseline scores, but were, at most, weakly associated with change in cognition over time after accounting for confounding variables. There was evidence that the episodic-memory scores of Spanish-speaking Hispanic participants with limited education underestimated their true abilities in the initial evaluation, which may reflect lack of familiarity with the testing environment. These results-consistent with other reports in the literature-suggest that cross-sectional effects of demographic variables on cognitive-test scores result from differences in life experiences that directly influence test performance and do not indicate greater disease effects on cognition in minorities and those with limited education. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Psychology and Aging 02/2013; 28(3). DOI:10.1037/a0031645 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The recently developed Everyday Cognition scales (ECog) measure multiple cognitively relevant functional domains (e.g., Everyday Memory, Everyday Language, Everyday Visuospatial abilities, and three everyday executive domains). The present study further evaluated the validity of the ECog by examining its relationship with objective measures of neuropsychological function, and neurobiological markers of disease as reflected by structural neuroimaging. Participants included 474 older adults (244 normals, 142 with MCI, 88 with dementia). The neuropsychological domains measured were episodic memory, semantic memory, spatial ability, and executive functioning. Brain MRI volumes included total brain (BV), hippocampus (HC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Neuropsychological measures of episodic memory and executive function were most consistently related to the ECog domains; spatial abilities had a specific relationship to the Everyday Visuospatial ECog domain. HC and BV volumes were related to most ECog domains, while DLPFC volume was independently related to two everyday executive domains (Everyday Planning and Everyday Organization). The pattern of associations varied somewhat as a function of diagnosis. Episodic memory and HC had more consistent associations with the ECog domains in older adults with MCI/dementia than in cognitively normal elderly. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1-12).
    Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 02/2013; 19(04):1-12. DOI:10.1017/S1355617712001609 · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We provide rigorous psychometric evidence for distinct patterns of cognitive impairment for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cerebral infarctions using 440 participants from the Religious Order Study. Latent variable models were used to decompose the effects of AD pathology and cerebral infarctions assessed at autopsy on overall cognition and specific neuropsychological tests at one and five years prior to death. Results support clinical and univariate psychometric analyses that memory impairment is more pronounced in AD, and executive impairment is more pronounced in the presence of cerebral infarctions. These specific effects are subtle relative to the stronger associations of both AD neuropathology and cerebral infarctions with overall levels of cognitive impairment.
    Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 12/2012; 35(1). DOI:10.1080/13803395.2012.740001 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    Vineeta Chand · Kathleen Baynes · Lisa M Bonnici · Sarah Tomaszewski Farias ·
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    ABSTRACT: While past research has demonstrated that low idea density (ID) scores from natural language samples correlate with late life risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease pathology, there are no published rubrics for collecting and analyzing language samples for idea density to verify or extend these findings into new settings. This unit outlines the history of ID research and findings, discusses issues with past rubrics, and then presents an operationalized method for the systematic measurement of ID in language samples, with an extensive manual available as a supplement to this unit (Analysis of Idea Density, AID). Finally, reliability statistics for this rubric in the context of dementia research on aging populations and verification that AID can replicate the significant association between ID and late-life cognition are presented. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 58:10.5.1-10.5.15. © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Current protocols in neuroscience / editorial board, Jacqueline N. Crawley ... [et al.] 10/2012; Chapter 10:Unit10.5. DOI:10.1002/0471142301.ns1005s58

  • Alzheimer's and Dementia 07/2012; 8(4):P530. DOI:10.1016/j.jalz.2012.05.1424 · 12.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with a cascade of pathological events involving formation of amyloid-based neuritic plaques and tau-based neurofibrillary tangles, changes in brain structure and function, and eventually, cognitive impairment and functional disability. The precise sequence of when each of these disease markers becomes abnormal is not yet clearly understood. The present study systematically tested the relationship between classes of biomarkers according to a proposed model of temporal sequence by Jack et al. (Lancet Neurology 9:119-128, 2010). We examined temporal relations among four classes of biomarkers: CSF Aβ, CSF tau, neuroimaging variables (hippocampal volume, ventricular volume, FDG PET), and cognitive variables (memory and executive function). Random effects modeling of longitudinal data obtained from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) was used to test hypotheses that putative earlier markers of AD predicted change in later markers, and that intervening markers reduced effects of earlier on later markers. Specifically, we hypothesized that CSF tau would explain CSF Aβ's relation to neuroimaging and cognitive variables, and neuroimaging variables would explain tau's relation to cognitive variables. Consistent with hypotheses, results indicated that CSF Aβ effects on cognition change were substantially attenuated by CSF tau and measures of brain structure and function, and CSF tau effects on cognitive change were attenuated by neuroimaging variables. Contrary to hypotheses, CSF Aβ and CSF tau were observed to have independent effects on neuroimaging and CSF tau had a direct effect on baseline cognition independent of brain structure and function. These results have implications for clarifying the temporal sequence of AD changes and corresponding biomarkers.
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 05/2012; 6(4). DOI:10.1007/s11682-012-9177-0 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GM volume, WMH volume, and FA are each associated with cognition; however, few studies have detected whether these 3 different types of MR imaging measurements exert independent or additive effects on cognitive performance. To detect their extent of contribution to cognitive performance, we explored the independent and additive contributions of GM atrophy, white matter injury, and white matter integrity to cognition in elderly patients. Two hundred and 9 elderly patients participated in the study: 97 were CN adults, 65 had MCI, and 47 had dementia. We measured GM on T1-weighted MR imaging, WMH on FLAIR, and FA on DTI, along with psychometrically matched measures of 4 domains of cognitive performance, including semantic memory, episodic memory, executive function, and spatial abilities. As expected, patients with dementia performed significantly more poorly in all 4 cognitive domains, whereas patients with MCI performed generally less poorly than dementia patients, though considerable overlap in performance was present across groups. GM, FA, and WMH each differed significantly between diagnostic groups and were associated with cognitive measures. In multivariate models that included all 3 MR imaging measures (GM, WMH, and FA), GM volume was the strongest determinant of cognitive performance. These results strongly suggest that MR imaging measures of GM are more closely associated with cognitive function than WM measures across a broad range of cognitive and functional impairment.
    American Journal of Neuroradiology 04/2012; 33(9):1797-803. DOI:10.3174/ajnr.A3048 · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: The Nun Study showed that lower linguistic ability in young adulthood, measured by idea density (ID), increased the risk of dementia in late life. The present study examined whether ID measured in late life continues to predict the trajectory of cognitive change. Method. ID was measured in 81 older adults who were followed longitudinally for an average of 4.3 years. Changes in global cognition and 4 specific neuropsychological domains (episodic memory, semantic memory, spatial abilities, and executive function) were examined as outcomes. Separate random effects models tested the effect of ID on longitudinal change in outcomes, adjusted for age and education. RESULTS: Lower ID was associated with greater subsequent decline in global cognition, semantic memory, episodic memory, and spatial abilities. When analysis was restricted to only participants without dementia at the time ID was collected, results were similar. Discussion. Linguistic ability in young adulthood, as measured by ID, has been previously proposed as an index of neurocognitive development and/or cognitive reserve. The present study provides evidence that even when ID is measured in old age, it continues to be associated with subsequent cognitive decline and as such may continue to provide a marker of cognitive reserve.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 02/2012; 67(6):677-86. DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbr162 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    Neurobiology of aging 01/2012; 33:1486.e9-15. · 5.01 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
409.57 Total Impact Points


  • 2003-2015
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Neurology
      Davis, California, United States
  • 2003-2014
    • California State University, Sacramento
      Sacramento, California, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Essex
      • Department of Language and Linguistics
      Colchester, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Psychiatry
      San Francisco, California, United States