The association of perceived memory loss with osteoarthritis and related joint pain in a large Appalachian population

Kim E. Innes, Usha Sambamoorthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective. Previous studies have documented memory impairment in several chronic pain syndromes. However, the potential link between memory loss and osteoarthritis (OA), the second most common cause of chronic pain, remains little explored. In this cross-sectional study, we examine the association of perceived memory loss to OA and assess the potential mediating influence of sleep and mood disturbance in a large Appalachian population. Design. Cross-sectional. Setting. US Ohio Valley. Subjects. A total of 21,982 Appalachian adults age 40 years or older drawn from the C8 Health Project (N 5 19,004 adults without and 2,478 adults with OA). All participants completed a comprehensive health survey between 2005 and 2006. Medical history, including physician diagnosis of OA, lifestyle factors, short- and long-term memory loss, sleep quality, and mood were assessed via self-report. Results. After adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, health-related, and other factors, participants with OA were almost three times as likely to report frequent memory loss (adjusted odds ratios [ORs] for short- and long-term memory loss, respectively 5 2.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5 2.2-3.3, and 2.6, 95% CI 5 2.0-3.3). The magnitude of these associations increased significantly with rising frequency of reported joint pain (adjusted OR for OA with frequent joint pain vs no OA 5 3.3, 95% CI 5 2.6-4.1, Ptrend < 0.00001). Including measures of mood and sleep impairment attenuated but did not eliminate these associations (ORs for any memory loss 5 2.0, 95% CI 5 1.6-2.4, and 2.1, 95% CI 5 1.7-2.8, adjusted for sleep and mood impairment, respectively; OR 5 1.8, 95% CI 5 1.4-2.2, adjusted for both factors). Conclusions. In this large cross-sectional study, OA and related joint pain were strongly associated with perceived memory loss; these associations may be partially mediated by sleep and mood disturbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1356
Number of pages17
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Chronic Pain
  • Cognition
  • Memory Loss
  • Mood
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep


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