TitleReaction time and mortality from the major causes of death: the NHANES-III study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHagger-Johnson, G, Deary, IJ, Davies, CA, Weiss, A, Batty, GD
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2014
KeywordsAdult, African Continental Ancestry Group, Age Factors, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cause of Death, Female, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nutrition Surveys, Proportional Hazards Models, Reaction Time, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Survival Analysis, United States

OBJECTIVE: Studies examining the relation of information processing speed, as measured by reaction time, with mortality are scarce. We explored these associations in a representative sample of the US population.

METHODS: Participants were 5,134 adults (2,342 men) aged 20-59 years from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-94).

RESULTS: Adjusted for age, sex, and ethnic minority status, a 1 SD slower reaction time was associated with a raised risk of mortality from all-causes (HR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.12, 1.39) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.17, 1.58). Having 1 SD more variable reaction time was also associated with greater risk of all-cause (HR = 1.36, 95% CI 1.19, 1.55) and CVD (HR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.33, 1.70) mortality. No associations were observed for cancer mortality. The magnitude of the relationships was comparable in size to established risk factors in this dataset, such as smoking.

INTERPRETATION: Alongside better-established risk factors, reaction time is associated with increased risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease. It is a candidate risk factor for all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24489645
PubMed Central IDPMC3906008
Grant List / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
/ / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
MR/K026992/1 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
G0700704 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
/ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom