Does cognitive reserve shape cognitive decline?

INSERM, U1018, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Paul Brousse Hospital, Villejuif, France.
Annals of Neurology (Impact Factor: 9.98). 08/2011; 70(2):296-304. DOI: 10.1002/ana.22391
Source: PubMed


Cognitive reserve is associated with a lower risk of dementia, but the extent to which it shapes cognitive aging trajectories remains unclear. Our objective is to examine the impact of 3 markers of reserve from different points in the life course on cognitive function and decline in late adulthood.
Data are from 5,234 men and 2,220 women, mean age 56 years (standard deviation = 6) at baseline, from the Whitehall II cohort study. Memory, reasoning, vocabulary, and phonemic and semantic fluency were assessed 3× over 10 years. Linear mixed models were used to assess the association between markers of reserve (height, education, and occupation) and cognitive decline, using the 5 cognitive tests and a global cognitive score composed of these tests.
All 3 reserve measures were associated with baseline cognitive function; the strongest associations were with occupation and the weakest with height. All cognitive functions except vocabulary declined over the 10-year follow-up period. On the global cognitive test, there was greater decline in the high occupation group (-0.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.28 to -0.26) compared to the intermediate (-0.23; 95% CI, -0.25 to -0.22) and low groups (-0.21; 95% CI, -0.24 to -0.19); p = 0.001. The decline in reserve groups defined by education (p = 0.82) and height (p = 0.55) was similar.
Cognitive performance over the adult life course was remarkably higher in the high reserve groups. However, rate of cognitive decline did not differ between reserve groups with the exception of occupation, where there was some evidence of greater decline in the high occupation group.

Download full-text


Available from: Michael G Marmot, Oct 05, 2015
21 Reads
  • Source
    • "Subtle alterations of cognition are common and well established in older adults, even in the absence of dementia or significant cognitive impairment. People frequently report increasing difficulties with memory and speed of thought, and research has shown that cognitive domains such as memory, processing speed, reasoning and executive functioning decline with age (Deary et al., 2009; Singh-Manoux et al., 2011). Whilst these changes are not in themselves clinically significant , they may represent the very earliest stages of decline and are potentially important targets for public health interventions. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objectives Emerging literature suggests that lifestyle factors may play an important role in reducing age-related cognitive decline. There have, however, been few studies investigating the role of cognitively stimulating leisure activities in maintaining cognitive health. This study sought to identify changes in cognitive performance with age and to investigate associations of cognitive performance with several key cognitively stimulating leisure activities. Method Over 65,000 participants provided demographic and lifestyle information and completed tests of grammatical reasoning, spatial working memory, verbal working memory and episodic memory. ResultsRegression analyses suggested that frequency of engaging in Sudoku or similar puzzles was significantly positively associated with grammatical reasoning, spatial working memory and episodic memory scores. Furthermore, for participants aged under 65years, frequency of playing non-cognitive training computer games was also positively associated with performance in the same cognitive domains. The results also suggest that grammatical reasoning and episodic memory are particularly vulnerable to age-related decline. Further investigation to determine the potential benefits of participating in Sudoku puzzles and non-cognitive computer games is indicated, particularly as they are associated with grammatical reasoning and episodic memory, cognitive domains found to be strongly associated with age-related cognitive decline. Conclusions Results of this study have implications for developing improved guidance for the public regarding the potential value of cognitively stimulating leisure activities. The results also suggest that grammatical reasoning and episodic memory should be targeted in developing appropriate outcome measures to assess efficacy of future interventions, and in developing cognitive training programmes to prevent or delay cognitive decline. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 04/2015; 30(4). DOI:10.1002/gps.4155 · 2.87 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The ageing of populations has increased interest in cognitive function as a public health issue. There is now a mounting body of evidence that low SES, measured by education, occupation, income, and ownership of financial assets, predicts decline in cognitive function in older adults [37-41]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In all countries people of lower socioeconomic status evaluate their health more poorly. Yet in reporting overall health, individuals consider multiple domains that comprise their perceived health state. Considered alone, overall measures of self-reported health mask differences in the domains of health. The aim of this study is to compare and assess socioeconomic inequalities in each of the individual health domains and in a separate measure of overall health. Data on 247,037 adults aged 18 or older were analyzed from 57 countries, drawn from all national income groups, participating in the World Health Survey 2002-2004. The analysis was repeated for lower- and higher-income countries. Prevalence estimates of poor self-rated health (SRH) were calculated for each domain and for overall health according to wealth quintiles and education levels. Relative socioeconomic inequalities in SRH were measured for each of the eight health domains and for overall health, according to wealth quintiles and education levels, using the relative index of inequality (RII). A RII value greater than one indicated greater prevalence of self-reported poor health among populations of lower socioeconomic status, called pro-rich inequality. There was a descending gradient in the prevalence of poor health, moving from the poorest wealth quintile to the richest, and moving from the lowest to the highest educated groups. Inequalities which favor groups who are advantaged either with respect to wealth or education, were consistently statistically significant in each of the individual domains of health, and in health overall. However the size of these inequalities differed between health domains. The prevalence of reporting poor health was higher in the lower-income country group. Relative socioeconomic inequalities in the health domains and overall health were higher in the higher-income country group than the lower-income country group. Using a common measurement approach, inequalities in health, favoring the rich and the educated, were evident in overall health as well as in every health domain. Existent differences in averages and inequalities in health domains suggest that monitoring should not be limited only to overall health. This study carries important messages for policy-making in regard to tackling inequalities in specific domains of health. Targeting interventions towards individual domains of health such as mobility, self-care and vision, ought to be considered besides improving overall health.
    BMC Public Health 03/2012; 12(1):198. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-198 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • International Journal of Epidemiology 08/2011; 40(4):845-7. DOI:10.1093/ije/dyr114 · 9.18 Impact Factor
Show more