Merrill Elias

Education

Purdue University, Experimental Psychology, MS, PhD (1963), Duke University Center for Aging and Human Development, post-doctoral (1971) , Allegheny College, BA (1960), Boston University School of Public Health, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, MPH (1996)

Biosketch

Professor or Psychology, University of Maine, 1977 to present. Cooperating professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (2008-   ); PhD, Experimental Psychology, Purdue University (1963), MPH, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health (1966). Fellow, American Psychological Association, Society of Psychosomatic Medicine, American Heart Association Councils on High Blood Pressure and Epidemiology. Research support: NSF, NIH, NATO. Framingham Heart Study Investigator (1994- ).  Director, Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.

Research Interests

Laboratory of Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Aging and Neuropsychology

My research combines interests in cognitive functioning and cardiovascular epidemiology. My major research activity focuses on the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS). Beginning at Syracuse University in 1975 and moving to the University of Maine in 1977, the MSLS has continued uninterrupted for more than 33 years thanks to support from the National Institute on Aging (NIH) and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH).  This community-based study offers students and faculty opportunities for archival data analysis focusing on relations among newly recognized and traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cognitive performance across the adult lifespan. Some examples of variables in the data base are as follows: blood pressure, diabetes, blood glucose levels, adiposity, depression, anxiety, stroke, cardiovascular disease, homocysteine, lipids, ApoE e4, arterial stiffness (indexed by pulse wave velocity), smoking, alcohol consumption, chocolate consumption vitamin B12, vitamin B6, folate, functional disability, activities of daily living, stroke and dementia history.  The MSLS offers longitudinal and cross-sectional data on these risk factors and an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. Among our collaborators are faculty at the University of Maine, Boston University, the University of Virginia, the University of Southern California, Oxford University (UK), the University or Birmingham (UK) and Australian National University, the Nutrition Centre University of South Australia, and the Luxembourg National Institute of Health. While much of our work focuses on cognitive performance outcomes, biological outcome studies are also part of our effort, i.e. studies of food preferences and patterns, metabolic syndrome, and arterial stiffness and visual acuity. Our new research effort, led by GSBSE student Cara Sullivan, is relating visual acuity to cognitive tasks that place demands on visual spatial abilities and those that do not require vision with controls for cardiovascular diseases that affect visual acuity such as kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

 

Selected Publications

  • Waldstein, S. R., & Elias, M. F. (Eds.) (2016). Neuropsychology of Cardiovascular Disease (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis. (Jan, pub date)
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F.,& Torres, R. V. (2016). Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are associated with poorer cognitive function in individuals with type 2 diabetes: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. British Journal of Nutrition, 115,1397-15. 1397-1408.
  • Torres RV, Elias M. F, Seliger S, Davey A, Robbins MA.(2016). Risk for cognitive impairment across 22 measures of cognitive ability in early stage chronic kidney disease. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2016; Doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfw005.
  • Elias, M. F., Torres, R. V., & Davey, A. (2016) ). The eye is the window to the kidney and brain. EBioMedicine., 5, 24-25.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., & Alkerwi, A. (2016). Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Appetite. 100, 126-132.
  • Alkerwi, A., Suavageor, N., Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Stranges, S. (2016), Daily chocolate consumption is associated with insulin resistance and liver enzymes in Luxembourg Study. British Journal of Nutrition, 17, 1-8 (Epub ahad of prnt).
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Alkerwi, A., & Abhayaratna, W. (In Press). Relation of habitual chocolate consumption to arterial stiffness in healthy individuals: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.Pulse, accepted for publication.
  • Elias, M. F., Torres, R. V., & Davey, A. (2016). The eye is the window to the kidney and brain. EBioMedicine., 5, 24-25.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Davey, A., Alkerwi, A., & Dore, G. A. (2015). Higher cognitive performance is prospectively associated with healthy dietary choices: The Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Elias, M. F., Crichton, G. E., & Abhayaratna, W. P. (2015). Synegeristic relations between plasma homocysteine and arterial stiffness in early-stage kidney disease: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Journal of Human Hypertension
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., Torres, R. V., & Robbins, M. A. Measurement-to-measurement blood pressure variability is related to cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Hypertension 2014; 64;1094-1101. (DOI:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04282.) Read Abstract
  • Waldstein, S. R., & Elias, M. F. (Eds.) (in press). Neuropsychology of Cardiovascular Disease (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis. (Jan, pub date)
  • Elias, M. F., Crichton, G. E., & Abhayaratna, W. P. (in press). Synegeristic relations between plasma homocysteine and arterial stiffness in early-stage kidney disease: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Journal of Human Hypertension.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Davey, A., Alkerwi, A., & Dore, G. A. (in press). Higher cognitive performance is prospectively associated with healthy dietary choices: The Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., Torres, R. V., & Robbins, M. A. (2014). Measurement-to-measurement blood pressure variability is related to cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Hypertension, 64, 1094-1101.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Davey, A., Sauvageot, N., Delagardelle, C., Beissel, J., & Alkerwi A. (2014). Cardiovascular health: A cross-national comparison between The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (Central New York, USA) and ORISCAV-LUX (Luxembourg). BMC Public Health, 14, 253. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-253.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Sullivan, K. J., Davey, A., & Robbins, M. A. (2014). Lipoprotein levels and cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 20, 961-970.
  • Elias, M. F., Davey, A., Dore, G. A., Gillespie, A., Abhayaratina, W. P., & Robbins, M. A. (2014). Deterioration in renal function is associated with increased arterial stiffness. American Journal of Hypertension, 27(2), 207-214.
  • Crichton, G. E. & Elias, M. F. (2014). Dairy food intake and cardiovascular health: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Advances in Dairy Research, 2, 112.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., Torres, R. V., & Robbins, M. A. (2014) Measurement-to-measurement blood pressure variability is related to cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Hypertension 2014; 64;1094-1101
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., & Robbins, M. A. (2013). Cardiovascular health and arterial stiffness: The Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Journal of Human Hypertension, 28(7), 444-449.
  • Davey, A., Elias, M. F, Robbins, M. A, Seliger, S. L., & Dore, G. A. (2013). Decline in renal functioning is associated with longitudinal decline in global cognitive functioning, abstract reasoning, and verbal memory. Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation, 28, 1810-1819.
  • Elias, M. F., Goodell, A. L., & Dore, G. A. (2012). Hypertension and cognitive functioning: A perspective in historical context. Hypertension, 60, 260-268.
  • Elias, M. F., & Goodell, A. L. (2010). Editorial: Diet and exercise-blood pressure and cognition: to serve and protect. Hypertension, 55, 1296-1298. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., Davey, A., Robbins, M. A., & Elias, P. K. (2010). From blood pressure to physical disability: the role of cognition. Hypertension, 55, 1360-1365.Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M.F, & Davey, A. (2009). Predicting conversion to mild cognitive impairment:
    Some error is the price of much truth. Neurology, 73, 1432-1433. Download file (PDF)
  • Dore, G. A., Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A., Elias, P. K., Nagy, Z. (2009). Presence of the APOE ?4 allele modifies the relationship between type 2 diabetes and cognitive performance: the Maine–Syracuse Study. Diabetologia. 52, 2551-2560. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M.F., Robbins, M.A., Budge, M.M., Abhayaratna, W.P., Dore, G.A., & Elias, P.K. (2009). Arterial pulse wave velocity and cognition with advancing age. Hypertension, 53, 668-673. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M.F., Elias, P.K., Seliger, S.L., Narsipur, S.S., Dore, G.A. & Robbins, M.A. (2009). Chronic kidney disease, creatinine and cognitive functioning. Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, 24, 2446-2452. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F. & Gore, G.A. (2008). Brain indices predict blood pressure control: Aging brains
    and new predictions. Hypertension, 52, 1014-1015. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M.F., Elias, P.K., Dore, G.A., & Robbins, M.A. (2008). High-normal blood pressure and cognition: Supplying the missing data [Letter to the Editor]. Hypertension, 52(1), e1-e2. Download file (PDF)
  • Dore, G. A., Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A., Budge, M. M., & Elias, P. K. (2008). Relation between central adiposity and cognitive function in the Maine-Syracuse Study: Attenuation by physical activity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35(3), 341-350. (DOI 10.1007/s12160-008-9038-7) Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M.F., Robbins, M.A., Budge, M.M., Elias, P.K., Dore, G.A., Brennan, S.L., Johnston C., & Nagy, Z. (2008). Homocysteine and cognitive performance: modification by the ApoE genotype. Neuroscience Letters, 430, 64-69. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F. & Elias, P. K. (2007). Blood pressure and disability. Novus orsa [Editorial Comment]. Hypertension, 50, 1006-1008. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Sullivan, L. M., Elias, P. K., D’Agostino, R. B., Sr., Wolf, P. A. Seshadri, S., Au, R., Benjamin, E. J., & Vasan, R. S. (2007). Left ventricular mass, blood pressure and lowered cognitive performance in the Framingham Offspring. Hypertension, 49, 439-445.
  • Elias, M. F., Sullivan, L. M., Elias, P. K., Vasan, R. S., D’Agostino, R. B., Seshadri, S., Au, R., Wolf, P. A., & Benjamin, E. J. (2006). Atrial fibrillation is associated with lower cognitive performance in the Framingham Offspring men. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 15, 214-222. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A., Budge, M. M., Elias, P. K., Brennan, S. L., Johnston, C., Nagy, Z., & Bates, C. J., (2006). Homocysteine, folate, vitamins B6 and B12 blood levels in relation to cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 68, 547-554. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Elias, P. K., Sullivan, L. M., Wolf, P. A., & D’Agostino, R. B. (2005). Obesity, diabetes and cognitive deficit: The Framingham Heart Study. Neurobiology of Aging, 26S: S11-S16. Download file (PDF)
  • Robbins, M.A., Elias, M.F., Elias, P.K., & Budge, M.M. (2005). Blood pressure and cognitive function in an African-American and a Caucasian-American sample: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 707-714. Download file (PDF)
  • Robbins, M. A., Elias, M. F., Budge, M. M., Brennan, S. L., & Elias, P. K. (2005). Homocysteine, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cognitive performance: The Maine-Syracuse Study. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, 43, 1101-1106. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Sullivan, L. M., D’Agostino, R. B., Elias, P. K., Jacques, P. F., Selhub, J., Seshadri, S., Au, R., Beiser, A., & Wolf, P. A. (2005). Homocysteine and cognitive performance in the Framingham Offspring Study: age is important. American Journal of Epidemiology, 162, 1-10. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, P. K., Elias, M. F., D’Agostino, R. B., Sullivan, L. M., & Wolf, P. A. (2005). Serum cholesterol and cognitive performance in the Framingham Heart Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 24-30. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, P. K., Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A., & Budge, M. M. (2004). Blood pressure-related cognitive decline: does age make a difference? Hypertension, 44, 631-636. Download file (PDF)
  • Elias, M. F., Sullivan, L. M., D’Agostino, R. B., Elias, P. K., Beiser, A., Au, R., Seshadri. S., DeCarli, C., & Wolf, P. A. (2004). The Framingham stroke risk profile and lowered cognitive performance. Stroke, 35, 404-409. Download file (PDF)