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Cultural engagement predicts changes in cognitive function in older adults over a 10 year period: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Fancourt, D; Steptoe, A; (2018) Cultural engagement predicts changes in cognitive function in older adults over a 10 year period: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Scientific Reports , 8 , Article 10226. 10.1038/s41598-018-28591-8. Green open access

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Abstract

There is increasing evidence that leading an active, socially engaged lifestyle might protect against cognitive decline. The arts have been proposed as potentially beneficial activities due to their combination of cognitive complexity and mental creativity. Yet it remains uncertain which types of arts engagement and what level of engagement is required for potential benefits to accrue. This study therefore explored the association between three types of cultural engagement (visiting museums/galleries/exhibitions, going to the theatre/concert/opera and going to the cinema) and change in cognitive function over 10 years amongst adults aged over 52. Our participants (n = 3,445), drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, were assessed in 2004/5 and 2014/15. We measured memory and semantic fluency at baseline and follow-up, analysing results using ordinary least squares regression models. Independent of demographic, health and social confounders, visiting museums/galleries/exhibitions and going to the theatre/concert/opera were associated with a lesser decline in cognitive function. Sensitivity analyses confirmed effects were unaffected by considerations of mobility or dementia diagnoses. However, going to the cinema was found to hold little effect for cognitive preservation. Overall, our results suggest that more frequent cultural engagement is associated with more marked effects, but even annual engagement may be protective.

Type: Article
Title: Cultural engagement predicts changes in cognitive function in older adults over a 10 year period: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28591-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28591-8
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052552
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