Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to present population-based data showing the effects of age on cognitive test performance in a sample of older Japanese American adults. In addition, the relative effects of education, gender, and primary spoken language were compared to effects that have been reported in the literature for majority culture older adults. Subjects included 201 non-demented Japanese American adults age 70 and older currently enrolled in the Kame Project, a prospective study of aging and dementia in King County, WA. Cognitive tests included the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) neuropsychological assessment battery, WAIS-R Digit Span and Digit Symbol subtests, Trail Making Test, Purdue Pegboard, and Finger Tapping. Older age was associated with significantly (p<0.05) lower scores on all tests; less than high school education was associated with lower scores on all tests except Digit Span, Finger Tapping, and the Purdue Pegboard. Women and English-speaking participants scored higher than men and Japanese speakers on various tests of memory, attention, and visuomotor ability. These data reinforce the importance of using appropriately corrected norms when interpreting results of cognitive screening tests with minority culture older adults.

Author notes

1
Portions of this paper were originally presented at the Gerontological Society of America 51st annual meeting, November 20–24, 1998, Philadelphia, PA.