To study the associations between dementia/mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and cognitive performance and activity levels in youth.
Retrospective cohort study.
Research volunteers living throughout the United States.
A total of 396 persons (mean age 75) who were graduates of the same high school in the mid-1940s.
Adolescent intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were gathered from archived student records, and activity levels were determined from yearbooks. A two-stage telephone screening procedure (Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status or Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly followed by Dementia Questionnaire) was used to determine adult cognitive status. Data were analyzed using logistic regression to model the risk of cognitive impairment (dementia/MCI) versus no cognitive impairment as a function of IQ and activity level, adjusting for sex and education.
High adolescent IQ and greater activity level were each independently associated with a lower risk for dementia/MCI (odds ratio (OR) for a 1-standard deviation increase in IQ=0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.32-0.79; OR for a unit increase in activity=0.32, 95% CI=0.12-0.84). No association was found between sex or education and adult cognitive status in this model.
High IQ and greater activity levels in youth reduce the risk for cognitive impairments in aging. The mechanism(s) underlying these associations are unknown, but intelligence may be a marker for cognitive/neurological "reserve," and involvement in activities may contribute to "reserve." Early neuropathology and ascertainment bias are also possible explanations for the observed associations.
"Frequency of attainment is included as an important factor for assessing life-space (Baker et al., 2003). A previous study indicated that greater activity levels in youth reduced the risk of cognitive impairments in aging, and that involvement in certain activities may contribute to cognitive ''reserve'' (Fritsch et al., 2005). In addition, an epidemiological study suggested that participation in cognitively stimulating leisure activity (e.g., attending a class, lecture, or public meeting; and participating in community, church, or social clubs) may attenuate the effects of brain lesion pathology on cognitive performance in older adults (Saczynski et al., 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study sought to investigate the relationship between going outdoor daily and prefrontal cortex activation during execution of the VFT using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in community-dwelling older adults. Blood oxygenation changes in left and right prefrontal cortices were measured in twenty older adults (mean age 76.1±6.7 years) by NIRS during VFT performance. In this task, participants were required to pronounce as many nouns as possible beginning with the letters "Shi," "I," and "Re." Changes in oxygenated hemoglobin (oxy-Hb) levels during the VFT were compared between two groups defined by the frequency of going outdoors: daily or non-daily within a week. Participants in both groups exhibited significantly increased oxy-Hb levels in the left and right prefrontal cortices during the VFT compared to a resting baseline condition. After controlling for age and gender, there were significant group-by-condition interactions on oxy-Hb levels with less activation during the execution of the VFT over both cortices in the non-daily group (left: F=4.76, p=0.04; right: F=6.32, p=0.02). These findings indicate that going outdoors daily is associated with increased activation in the prefrontal cortices during VFT performance in community-dwelling older adults.
Archives of gerontology and geriatrics 09/2012; 56(1). DOI:10.1016/j.archger.2012.08.017 · 1.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract In an influential body of work extending across more than three decades and drawing on data from the United States, Poland, Japan, and the Ukraine, Melvin Kohn, Carmi Schooler, and their associates have found that cognitive capacities are affected by experiences on the job, specifically that working at a complex job improves cognitive functioning. These findings anticipate and parallel recent research on the relationships among social integration, leisure-time activities, and cognitive functioning among the elderly. This paper tests the Kohn-Schooler hypothesis using different measures, models, and data. Specifically, we estimate models of the reciprocal influence of work complexity and cognitive functioning at ages 53-54 among women,and men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. Even when adolescent academic ability test scores and high school rank have been controlled, we find moderate effects of the complexity of work on abstract reasoning ability at ages 53-54, and these effects are robust to reasonable assumptions about the unreliability of measurement,of adolescent academic ability. Moreover, the effects of work complexity on abstract reasoning ability are virtually the same among,women and men. Recent scientific findings highlight the possible influence of work, leisure activities, and social support on cognitive functioning at midlife and beyond (Bassuk et al. 1999; Schooler et al. 1999; Friedland et al. 2001, pp. 127-31; Schooler and Mulatu 2001; Wilson et al. 2002a; Wilson et al. 2002b; Fratiglioni et al. 2004; Schooler et al. 2004). These findings are very widely cited,, and some have been cross-validated. They suggest potential lines of intervention to improve quality of life and reduce dependency
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