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Cognitive ability in childhood and cognitive decline in mid-life: longitudinal birth cohort study

Richards, M.; Shipley, B.; Fuhrer, R.; Wadsworth, M.E.J.; (2004) Cognitive ability in childhood and cognitive decline in mid-life: longitudinal birth cohort study. BMJ , 328 (7439) pp.552 - 554B. 10.1136/bmj.37972.513819.EE. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To examine the association between cognitive ability in childhood and mid-life cognitive decline in the normal population. Design: Longitudinal, population based, birth cohort study. Participants: 2058 men and women born in 1946. Main study measures: Ability in childhood measured by AH4 and test of verbal comprehension at age 15 years. Ability in adulthood measured by the national adult reading test (NART) at age 53 years. Outcome measures were decline in memory (word list learning) and speed and concentration (timed visual search) from age 43 to 53 years. Results: Ability in childhood was significantly and negatively associated with decline in memory ( = 0.09, P = 0.005, for men; 0.10, P less than 0.001, for women) and search speed ( = 0.13, P less than 0.001, for men; 0.08, P = 0.01, for women), independent of educational attainment, occupational social class, and a range of health indicators. The adult reading test was also significantly and negatively associated with decline in these outcomes (for memory = 0.21, P less than 0.001, for men; 0.17, P less than 0.001, for women; and for search speed = -0.05 for men; 0.10, P = 0.008 for women) independent of educational attainment, social class, and childhood ability. Conclusions: Ability in childhood can protect against cognitive decline in mid-life and beyond. Results for the adult reading test indicate that the protective effect of ability may also be acquired in adulthood.

Type: Article
Title: Cognitive ability in childhood and cognitive decline in mid-life: longitudinal birth cohort study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmj.37972.513819.EE
Publisher version: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/328/7439/55...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1981
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