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Associations of word memory, verbal fluency, processing speed and crystallised cognitive ability with one-legged balance performance in mid and later life

Blodgett, JM; Cooper, R; Davis, DHJ; Kuh, D; Hardy, R; (2021) Associations of word memory, verbal fluency, processing speed and crystallised cognitive ability with one-legged balance performance in mid and later life. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A 10.1093/gerona/glab168. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cognitive integration of sensory input and motor output plays an important role in balance. Despite this, it is not clear if specific cognitive processes are associated with balance and how these associations change with age. We examined longitudinal associations of word memory, verbal fluency, search speed and reading ability with repeated measures of one-legged balance performance. METHODS: Up to 2934 participants in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, a British birth cohort study, were included. At age 53, word memory, verbal fluency, search speed and reading ability were assessed. One-legged balance times (eyes closed) were measured at ages 53, 60-64 and 69 years. Associations between each cognitive measure and balance time were assessed using random-effects models. Adjustments were made for sex, death, attrition, height, body mass index, health conditions, health behaviours, education, and occupational class. RESULTS: In sex-adjusted models, one SD higher scores in word memory, search speed and verbal fluency were associated with 14.1% (95%CI: 11.3,16.8), 7.2% (4.4,9.9) and 10.3% (7.5,13.0) better balance times at age 53, respectively. Higher reading scores were associated with better balance, although this association plateaued. Associations were partially attenuated in mutually-adjusted models and effect sizes were smaller at ages 60-64 and 69. In fully-adjusted models, associations were largely explained by education, although remained for word memory and search speed. CONCLUSIONS: Higher cognitive performance across all measures was independently associated with better balance performance in midlife. Identification of individual cognitive mechanisms involved in balance could lead to opportunities for targeted interventions in midlife.

Type: Article
Title: Associations of word memory, verbal fluency, processing speed and crystallised cognitive ability with one-legged balance performance in mid and later life
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glab168
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glab168
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: birth cohort, cognitive ageing, epidemiology, life course, physical performance
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 Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health 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/10130436
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