Stuart J. Ritchie's research while affiliated with King's College London and other places

Publications (238)

Article
Background Many different brain atlases exist that subdivide the human cortex into dozens or hundreds of regions-of-interest (ROIs). Inconsistency across studies using one or another cortical atlas may contribute to the replication crisis across the neurosciences. Methods Here, we provide a quantitative comparison between seven popular cortical at...
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Objective Depression often co-occurs with poor health-related quality of life (HRQL). Twin studies report genetic and individual-level environmental underpinnings in the aetiology of both depression and HRQL, but there is limited twin research exploring this association further. There is also little evidence on sex differences and non-Western popul...
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Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have uncovered DNA variants associated with individual differences in general cognitive ability (g), but these are far from capturing heritability estimates obtained from twin studies. A major barrier to finding more of this 'missing heritability' is assessment-the use of diverse measures across GWA studies as...
Preprint
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Background Understanding the neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying cognitive declines in the general population may facilitate early detection of adverse health outcomes in late life. This study investigates biological pathways shared between brain morphometry, ageing, and cognitive ability. Methods We develop Genomic Principal Components Analys...
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Different brain regions can be grouped together, based on cross-sectional correlations among their cortical characteristics; this patterning has been used to make inferences about ageing processes. However, cross-sectional brain data conflate information on ageing with patterns that are present throughout life. We characterised brain cortical agein...
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Background The comorbidity of depression and anxiety is associated with an increased risk of prolonged adverse mental health status. However, little is currently known about their genetic and environmental influences that help to explain both the comorbidity and distinctiveness. Using longitudinal twin data, the present study investigated both the...
Preprint
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Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have uncovered DNA variants associated with individual differences in general cognitive ability (g), but these are far from capturing heritability estimates obtained from twin studies. A major barrier is measurement heterogeneity. In a series of four studies, we created a 15-minute, online, gamified measure of...
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Full-text available
Polygenic scores can be used to distil the knowledge gained in genome-wide association studies for prediction of health, lifestyle, and psychological factors in independent samples. In this preregistered study, we used fourteen polygenic scores to predict variation in cognitive ability level at age 70, and cognitive change from age 70 to age 79, in...
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Social and behavioural scientists have attempted to speak to the COVID-19 crisis. But is behavioural research on COVID-19 suitable for making policy decisions? We offer a taxonomy that lets our science advance in ‘evidence readiness levels’ to be suitable for policy. We caution practitioners to take extreme care translating our findings to applicat...
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Identifying predictors of cognitive ability and brain structure in later life is an important step towards understanding the mechanisms leading to cognitive decline and dementia. This study used ultra-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to measure targeted and untargeted metabolites, ma...
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Background Aging-related cognitive decline is a primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. More precise identification of the neurobiological bases of cognitive decline in aging populations may provide critical insights into the precursors of late-life dementias. Methods Using structural and diffusion brain MRI data from th...
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Cognitive decline is among the most feared aspects of ageing. We have generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from 24 people from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, whose cognitive ability was tested in childhood and in older age. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were reprogrammed using non-integrating oriP/EBNA1 backbone plasmids ex...
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Full-text available
Psychological scientists have attempted to speak to the COVID-19 crisis. Psychology research on COVID-19, we argue, is unsuitable for making policy decisions. We offer a taxonomy that lets our science advance in Evidence Readiness Levels to be suitable for policy; we caution practitioners to take extreme care translating our findings to application...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cognitive decline is among the most feared aspects of ageing. We have generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from 24 people from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, whose cognitive ability was tested in childhood and in older age. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were reprogrammed using non-integrating oriP/EBNA1 backbone plasmids ex...
Article
Cognitive ability and educational success predict positive outcomes across the lifespan, from higher earnings to better health and longevity. The shared positive outcomes associated with cognitive ability and education are emblematic of the strong interconnections between them. Part of the observed associations between cognitive ability and educati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Different brain regions can be grouped together, based on cross-sectional correlations among their cortical characteristics; this patterning has been used to make inferences about ageing processes. However, cross-sectional brain data conflates information on ageing with patterns that are present throughout life. We characterised brain cortical agei...
Article
Full-text available
Whole-brain structural networks can be constructed using diffusion MRI and probabilistic tractography. However, measurement noise and the probabilistic nature of the tracking procedure result in an unknown proportion of spurious white matter connections. Faithful disentanglement of spurious and genuine connections is hindered by a lack of comprehen...
Article
Full-text available
Fluctuating body asymmetry is theorized to indicate developmental instability, and to have small positive associations with low socioeconomic status (SES). Previous studies have reported small negative associations between fluctuating body asymmetry and cognitive functioning, but relationships between fluctuating brain asymmetry and cognitive funct...
Article
To the Editor We have 4 concerns about the article and editorial on the association between maternal fluoride exposure during pregnancy and offspring IQ.¹,2 First, there was no significant IQ difference between children from fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities and no overall association with maternal urinary fluoride (MUFSG). The authors did...
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Socioeconomic position (SEP) is a multi-dimensional construct reflecting (and influencing) multiple socio-cultural, physical, and environmental factors. In a sample of 286,301 participants from UK Biobank, we identify 30 (29 previously unreported) independent-loci associated with income. Using a method to meta-analyze data from genetically-correlat...
Preprint
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Using raw structural and diffusion brain MRI data from the UK Biobank (UKB; N = 3,155, ages 45-75 years) and the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936; N = 534, all age 73 years), we examine aging of regional grey matter volumes ( nodes ) and white matter structural connectivity ( edges ) within networks-of-interest in the human brain connectome. In U...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cognitive ability and educational success predict positive outcomes across the lifespan, from higher earnings to better health and longevity. The shared positive outcomes associated with cognitive ability and education are emblematic of the strong interconnections between them. Part of the observed associations between cognitive ability and educati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Preregistration has been lauded as one of the solutions to the so-called ‘crisis of confidence’ in the social sciences and has therefore gained in popularity in recent years. However, despite its growing popularity, preregistration is still in its infancy and preregistration practices are far from optimal. Moreover, the current infrastructure for p...
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Imaging-derived indices of brain structure and white-matter connectivity evince steep declines with adult age and are robustly linked to neurological disease and a wide range of psychopathologies. Risk for psychopathology may be related to rapid structural brain aging, but the specific patterns of relations are not well documented. Using structural...
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Background Physical frailty is associated with many adverse outcomes including disability, chronic disease, hospitalisation, institutionalisation and death. It is unclear what impact it might have on the rate of normal cognitive ageing. We investigated whether physical frailty was related to initial level of, and change in, cognitive abilities from...
Article
It is unclear how scores on self-report resilience scales relate to key ageing-related domains in older age and if they truly measure resilience. We examined antecedents and outcomes of age-76 Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) scores in participants of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (n = 655). We found bivariate associations between age-76 BRS scores and...
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Full-text available
The associations between indices of brain structure and measured intelligence are unclear. This is partly because the evidence to-date comes from mostly small and heterogeneous studies. Here, we report brain structure-intelligence associations on a large sample from the UK Biobank study. The overall N = 29,004, with N = 18,426 participants providin...
Preprint
Background: Poorer performance on standard tests of motor coordination in children has emerging links with sedentary behaviour, obesity, and functional capacity in later life. These observations are suggestive of an as-yet untested association of coordination with health outcomes. Objective: To examine the association of performance on a series of...
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Full-text available
Polygenic scores are a popular tool for prediction of complex traits. However, prediction estimates in samples of unrelated participants can include effects of population stratification, assortative mating, and environmentally mediated parental genetic effects, a form of genotype-environment correlation (rGE). Comparing genome-wide polygenic score...
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Full-text available
It is suggested that the brain’s peak width of skeletonized water mean diffusivity (PSMD) is a neuro-biomarker of processing speed, an important aspect of cognitive aging. We tested whether PSMD is more strongly correlated with processing speed than with other cognitive domains, and more strongly than other structural brain MRI indices. Participant...
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Introduction: We test whether measures of the retinal vasculature are associated with cognitive functioning and cognitive change. Methods: Retinal images from a narrow-age cohort were analyzed using Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the Retina, producing a comprehensive range of quantitative measurements of the retinal vas...
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Secondary data analysis, or the analysis of preexisting data, provides a powerful tool for the resourceful psychological scientist. Never has this been more true than now, when technological advances enable both sharing data across labs and continents and mining large sources of preexisting data. However, secondary data analysis is easily overlooke...
Preprint
Whole-brain structural networks can be constructed using diffusion MRI and probabilistic tractography. However, measurement noise and the probabilistic nature of the tracking procedure result in an unknown proportion of spurious white matter connections. Faithful disentanglement of spurious and genuine connections is hindered by a lack of comprehen...
Article
Full-text available
General cognitive function is a prominent and relatively stable human trait that is associated with many important life outcomes. We combine cognitive and genetic data from the CHARGE and COGENT consortia, and UK Biobank (total N = 300,486; age 16–102) and find 148 genome-wide significant independent loci (P < 5 × 10−8) associated with general cogn...
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Genetic correlations estimated from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) reveal pervasive pleiotropy across a wide variety of phenotypes. We introduce genomic structural equation modelling (genomic SEM): a multivariate method for analysing the joint genetic architecture of complex traits. Genomic SEM synthesizes genetic correlations and single-n...
Preprint
Deviations from body symmetry are theorized to indicate developmental instability, and have small associations with low socioeconomic status (SES). Previous studies have reported small negative associations between body asymmetry and cognitive functioning, but relationships between brain asymmetry and cognitive functioning remain unclear. The prese...
Preprint
Full-text available
Polygenic scores are a popular tool for prediction of complex traits. However, prediction estimates in samples of unrelated participants can include effects of population stratification, assortative mating and environmentally mediated parental genetic effects, a form of genotype-environment correlation (rGE). Comparing genome-wide polygenic score (...
Preprint
Full-text available
The associations between indices of brain structure and measured intelligence are not clear. In part, this is because the evidence to date comes from mostly small and heterogenous studies. Here, we report brain structure-intelligence associations on a large sample from the UK Biobank study. The overall N = 29,004, with N = 18,363 participants provi...
Article
The brain's structures and functions arise from a combination of developmental processes and interaction with environmental experiences, beginning in utero and continuing throughout the lifespan. Broadly, the process that we think of as "successful aging" likely has its foundation in early life and is continuously shaped as life experiences are pro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Socio-economic position (SEP) is a multi-dimensional construct reflecting (and influencing) multiple socio-cultural, physical, and environmental factors. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using household income as a marker of SEP have shown that common genetic variants account for 11% of its variation. Here, in a sample of 286,301 par...
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Full-text available
Aims Several factors are known to increase risk for cerebrovascular disease and dementia, but there is limited evidence on associations between multiple vascular risk factors (VRFs) and detailed aspects of brain macrostructure and microstructure in large community-dwelling populations across middle and older age. Methods and results Associations...
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Full-text available
Intelligence, or general cognitive function, is phenotypically and genetically correlated with many traits, including a wide range of physical, and mental health variables. Education is strongly genetically correlated with intelligence (r g = 0.70). We used these findings as foundations for our use of a novel approach—multi-trait analysis of genome...
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We examined associations between self-reported sleep measures and cognitive level and change (age 70-76 years) in a longitudinal, same-year-of-birth cohort study (baseline N = 1,091; longitudinal N = 664). We also leveraged GWAS summary data to ascertain whether polygenic scores (PGS) of chronotype and sleep duration related to self-reported sleep,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aims: Several factors are known to increase risk for cerebrovascular disease and dementia, but there is limited evidence on associations between multiple vascular risk factors (VRFs) and detailed aspects of brain macro- and microstructure in large community-dwelling populations across middle- and older age. Methods and Results: Associations between...
Article
There are socioeconomic-status (SES) differences in cognitive development. Various factors have been proposed that might explain this association, and one of these factors is the home environment. The present study examined a chaotic home atmosphere as a potential mediator of the association between parental SES and cognitive development. A nationa...
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Full-text available
Background: Genome-wide DNA methylation (DNAm) profiling has allowed for the development of molecular predictors for a multitude of traits and diseases. Such predictors may be more accurate than the self-reported phenotypes and could have clinical applications. Results: Here, penalized regression models are used to develop DNAm predictors for te...
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Higher polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (szPGRS) has been associated with lower cognitive function and might be a predictor of decline in brain structure in apparently healthy populations. Age-related declines in structural brain connectivity-measured using white matter diffusion MRI -are evident from cross-sectional data. Yet, it remains unc...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is suggested that the brain's peak width of skeletonised water mean diffusivity (PSMD) is a neuro-biomarker of processing speed, a crucial contributor to cognitive ageing. We tested whether PSMD is more strongly correlated with processing speed than with other cognitive domains, and more strongly than other structural brain MRI indices. Particip...
Preprint
Full-text available
Polygenic scores can be used to distil the knowledge gained in genome-wide association studies for prediction of health, lifestyle, and environmental factors in independent samples. In this preregistered study, we used fourteen polygenic scores to predict variation in cognitive ability level at age 70 and cognitive change from age 70 to age 79 in t...
Preprint
Important strides have been made in recent years to promote increasing the reliability and transparency of scientific practice, including the increased availability of open data, and open materials. A major development is the use of preregistered sampling and analysis plans, which enable readers to distinguish between analyses meant to generate ver...
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Full-text available
Background Cognitive ability is an important predictor of lifelong physical and mental well-being, and impairments are associated with many psychiatric disorders. Higher cognitive ability is also associated with greater educational attainment and increased household income. Understanding neural mechanisms underlying cognitive ability is of crucial...