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Decline in Search Speed and Verbal Memory Over 26 Years of Midlife in a British Birth Cohort

Davis, D; Bendayan, R; Muniz Terrera, G; Hardy, R; Richards, M; Kuh, D; (2017) Decline in Search Speed and Verbal Memory Over 26 Years of Midlife in a British Birth Cohort. Neuroepidemiology , 49 (3-4) pp. 121-128. 10.1159/000481136. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cognitive capabilities change in later life, although their onset and rate of decline, and how they are shaped by lifetime socioeconomic position, childhood cognition and adult health status are all unclear. METHODS: From the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, we analysed 3,192 participants undergoing one or more cognitive assessments at ages 43, 53, 60-64 and 69. Linear mixed models described cognitive trajectories, adjusting for factors across the life course. RESULTS: For both search speed and verbal memory, better performance at age 43 (the intercept) was associated with higher paternal and own education, childhood cognition, and adult occupational class. For search speed, the trajectory was best described as a quadratic function (decline of 45.6 letters/5-years + 4.6 letters). Verbal memory showed a linear decline of 0.20 words/5-years between ages 43 and 60 and a steeper linear decline of 0.95 words/5-years between ages 60 and 69. Decline in verbal memory in the latter period was steeper in those with higher educational achievements at age 26 (additional 0.28 words/5-years for highest attainment). CONCLUSIONS: Decline in verbal memory and search speed across midlife is evident, though with different non-linear trajectories. By implication, pathways to cognitive impairment and dementia in older age may have their origins in this period.

Type: Article
Title: Decline in Search Speed and Verbal Memory Over 26 Years of Midlife in a British Birth Cohort
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1159/000481136
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1159/000481136
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel. This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY) (http://www.karger.com/Services/ OpenAccessLicense). Usage, derivative works and distribution are permitted provided that proper credit is given to the author and the original publisher.
Keywords: Ageing, Cognition, Life course epidemiology, Trajectory
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039073
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