Relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cognition in an aging population

Stephanie Shea, Jayme M. Palka, Alexandra Kulikova, Carol S North, Edson S Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common and severe respiratory illness. Prior research suggests that COPD may be associated with depression as well as cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia. Many studies to date have been relatively small, have largely relied on global screening measures to identify cognitive impairment, and have not examined the potential role of comorbid depression on cognition. This cross-sectional study examined the relationship between COPD and multiple cognitive domains at two time points using data from a large longitudinal population database. Methods: Linear multivariate analyses were conducted using secondary data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study to determine the effect of lifetime COPD and depressive symptom severity, assessed with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES–D), on multiple cognitive outcomes. Results: In both 2004 (n = 1608) and 2011 (n = 1743), lifetime COPD was found to be a non-significant predictor of all cognitive outcomes, while depressive symptom severity predicted significantly lower scores on the immediate recall and digit ordering tasks in 2004 and on all outcomes in 2011. Exploratory analyses in only those with lifetime COPD revealed COPD severity to be a non-significant factor for all outcomes in 2004 and 2011. Conclusion: COPD was not significantly associated with cognition. Conversely, higher depressive symptom severity was significantly associated with poorer performance on additional cognitive tasks in 2011 compared to 2004, suggesting that depression may contribute to cognitive decline, dependent upon the context of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111000
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Cognition
  • COPD
  • Depression
  • Elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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