Examining lifetime intellectual enrichment and cognitive decline in older patients

June 23, 2014, The JAMA Network Journals

Higher scores that gauged education (years of school completed) and occupation (based on attributes, complexities of a job), as well as higher levels of mid/late-life cognitive activity (e.g., reading books, participating in social activities and doing computer activities at least three times per week) were linked to better cognition in older patients.

Previous research has linked intellectual enrichment with possible protection against cognitive decline. The authors examined lifetime intellectual enrichment with baseline performance and the rate of cognitive decline in without dementia and estimated the protection provided against .

The authors studied 1,995 individuals (ages 70 to 89 years) without dementia (1,718 were cognitively normal and 277 individuals had mild ) in Olmsted County, Minnesota. They analyzed education/occupation scores and mid/late-life cognitive activity based on self-reports.

Better education/occupation scores and mid/late-life cognitive activity were associated with better cognitive performance. The authors suggest high lifetime intellectual enrichment may delay the onset of cognitive impairment by almost nine years in carriers of the APOE4 genotype, a risk factor for Alzheimer disease, compared with low lifetime intellectual enrichment.

"Lifetime intellectual enrichment might delay the onset of cognitive impairment and be used as a successful preventive intervention to reduce the impending dementia epidemic." Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues said in their JAMA Neurology article.

Explore further: Brain and cognitive reserve protect long-term against cognitive decline

More information: JAMA Neurol. Published online June 23, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/.jamaneurol.2014.963

Related Stories

Brain and cognitive reserve protect long-term against cognitive decline

April 30, 2014
Multiple sclerosis researchers have found that brain reserve and cognitive reserve confer a long-term protective effect against cognitive decline. The study has been published in Neurology.

Late-life depression associated with prevalent mild cognitive impairment, increased risk of dementia

December 31, 2012
Depression in a group of Medicare recipients ages 65 years and older appears to be associated with prevalent mild cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia, according to a report published Online First by Archives ...

Cardiac disease linked to higher risk of mental impairment

January 28, 2013
Cardiac disease is associated with increased risk of mild cognitive impairment such as problems with language, thinking and judgment—particularly among women with heart disease, a Mayo Clinic study shows. Known as nonamnestic ...

Researchers determine that brain reserve independently protects against cognitive decline in MS

June 25, 2013
U.S. and Italian researchers have determined that brain reserve, as well as cognitive reserve, independently protects against cognitive decline in multiple sclerosis (MS). Their article, "Brain reserve and cognitive reserve ...

New research may improve early detection of dementia

November 12, 2013
Using scores obtained from cognitive tests, Johns Hopkins researchers think they have developed a model that could help determine whether memory loss in older adults is benign or a stop on the way to Alzheimer's disease.

Recommended for you

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein

January 18, 2018
For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases ...

Fragile X finding shows normal neurons that interact poorly

January 18, 2018
Neurons in mice afflicted with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) appear similar to those in healthy mice, but these neurons fail to interact normally, resulting in the long-known cognitive impairments, ...

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain

January 17, 2018
University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response ...

Midbrain 'start neurons' control whether we walk or run

January 17, 2018
Locomotion comprises the most fundamental movements we perform. It is a complex sequence from initiating the first step, to stopping when we reach our goal. At the same time, locomotion is executed at different speeds to ...

Neuroscientists suggest a model for how we gain volitional control of what we hold in our minds

January 16, 2018
Working memory is a sort of "mental sketchpad" that allows you to accomplish everyday tasks such as calling in your hungry family's takeout order and finding the bathroom you were just told "will be the third door on the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.