Michael A. Robbins

Brief Biography

Research Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Maine, 2000 to present. Chair, Department of Psychology, 2007 to 2018. BA, Economics, Colgate University (1969); PhD, Psychology, University of Maine (1985). Research support: MTI, NIH. Investigator, Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.

My research interests are to investigate biological, psychological and social correlates of cognitive aging. Since 1981 my major research activity has involved collaboration with Merrill F. Elias 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, 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.

Description of the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study

Full List of Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study Publications

Sample of Publication Topics:

  • Dearborn PJ, Elias MF, Sullivan KJ, Sullivan CE, Robbins MA. (in press). Poorer visual acuity is associated with declines in cognitive performance across multiple cognitive domains: The Maine Syracuse Study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
  • Haigh EAP, Bogucki OE, Dearborn PJ, Robbins MA, Elias MF. (2018). Depressive symptoms progressively predict cardiovascular disease among older adults: Findings from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study. Journal of Health Psychology, doi10:1177/1359105318782375.
  • Dearborn PJ, Robbins MA, Elias MF. (2018). Challenging the “jolly fat” hypothesis among older adults: High body mass index predicts increases in depressive symptoms over a 5-year period. Journal of Health Psychology, 23, 48-58. doi10:1177/1359105316675209.
  • Dore, G. A., Elias, M. F., Crichton, G. E., & Robbins, M. A. (2018). Age modifies the relation between intraindividual measurement-to- measurement variation in blood pressure and cognitive function: the Maine-Syracuse Study. Journal of Hypertension, 36, 268-276.
    doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001510
  • Elias, M. F., Crichton, G. E., Dearborn, P. J., Robbins, M. F., & Abhayaratna, W. P. (2017). Associations between type 2 diabetes mellitus and arterial stiffness: A prospective analysis based on the Maine-Syracuse Study. Pulse, 5, 88-98. doi: 10.1159/000479560
  • Crichton GE, Elias MF, Dearborn PJ, & Robbins MA. (2017). Habitual chocolate intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study: (1975-2010): Prospective observations. Appetite, 108, 263-269.
  • Crichton GE, Elias MF, & Robbins MA. (2016). Association between depressive symptoms, use of antidepressive medication and the metabolic syndrome: the Maine-Syracuse Study. BMC Public Health, 16, 502-510, doi10.1186/s12889-016-3170-2.
  • Torres, R. V., Elias, M. F., Seliger, S., Davey, A., & Robbins, M. A. (2016). Risk for cognitive impairment across 22 measures of cognitive ability in early-stage chronic kidney disease. Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfw005
  • Davey, A., Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A. , Seliger, S. L., Dore, G. A. (in press). Decline in renal functioning is associated with longitudinal decline in global cognitive functioning, abstract Reasoning, and verbal memory. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.
  • Elias, M. F., Goodell, A. L., & Robbins, M. A. (in press). Blood pressure and cognitive functioning: Longitudinal studies, treatment, and new directions. In S. R. Waldstein & M. F. Elias (Eds.), Neuropsychology of Cardiovascular Disease (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
  • Crichton, G. E., Robbins, M. A., & Elias, M. F. (in press). Homocysteine, folic acid, B vitamins and cognitive functioning: A review of the literature. In: S. R. Waldstein & M. F. Elias (Eds.). Neuropsychology of Cardiovascular Disease (2nd ed). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., Abhayaratna, W. P., & Robbins, M. A. (2012). Relations between dairy food intake and arterial stiffness: pulse wave velocity and pulse pressure. Hypertension59, 1044-1051.[abstract]
  • Crichton, G. E., Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A., & Robbins, M. A. (2012). Relation between dairy food intake and cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.  International Dairy Journal, 22, 15-23.
  • Elias, M. F., Dore, G. A, Davey, A., Abhayaratna, W. P., Goodell, A. L., & Robbins, M. A. (2011). Norms and reference values for pulse wave velocity: One size does not fit all. The Journal of Biosciences and Medicine, 1(1), Online open publication. DOI:10.5780/jbm2011.4 [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. Hypertension55, 1360-1365.  [abstract]
  • Dore, G. A., Elias, M. F., Robbins, M. A., Elias, P. K., Nagy, Z. (2009).  Presence of the APOE ε4 allele modifies the relationship between type 2 diabetes and cognitive performance: The Maine–Syracuse Study.Diabetologia52, 2551-2560.  [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 Transplantation24, 2446-2452. [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. Hypertension53, 668-673.  [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 Medicine35(3), 341-350. (DOI 10.1007/s12160-008-9038-7)   [abstract]
  • 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. [abstract]
  • 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. [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 Medicine67, 707-714.  [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 Medicine43, 1101-1106. [abstract]
  • 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. [pdf]