In this project we strive to define the boundaries of """"""""cognitive aging"""""""". We focus on examining changes in cognition in the context of health, including health status (i.e., morbidity, comorbidity) and changes in health. We seek answers to two fundamental questions: Does aging affect cognitive function in everyone (i.e., what change is universal;normative)? To what extent are certain clinical conditions and related functional changes associated with cognitive change (i.e., does cognitive change partly reflect disease-specific, pathological, non-normative processes)? Pathological changes related to chronic and acute health conditions contribute to population cognitive impairment and declines that have been generally associated with aging.
We aim to identify the extent to which later life declines in cognitive function are potentially driven by health-related change, considering both independent and interactive effects of particular health conditions. We investigate the effects of health on cognition, at the individual (i.e., within-person) level and in terms of the heterogeneity of diseases and other factors affecting aggregate change in populations differing in nation and birth cohort, by means of coordinated analyses of multiple longitudinal studies of aging. We will identify early predictors of risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, including both physiological markers and functional markers. It will be necessary to consider the impact of population (i.e., resulting in selection, and changing over generations) and individual mortality (i.e., attrition, terminal decline). We will also, to the extent possible, account for socio-economic health gradients that may moderate these associations. The subproject emphasizes multi-generational and multi-national data analysis to provide broadly generalizable results and to reduce biases due to small samples or particular contexts, permitting interpretation of cross- study results in a sociohistorical context.

Public Health Relevance

We will provide a re-evaluation of recent findings of cross-sectional health-cognition associations. Using longitudinal data, we will test the existence of within-person associations between the development of common chronic vascular health conditions (based on biomarker and diagnostic information) and cognitive changes in later adulthood.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-9)
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Oregon Health and Science University
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Cadar, Dorina; Robitaille, Annie; Clouston, Sean et al. (2017) An International Evaluation of Cognitive Reserve and Memory Changes in Early Old Age in 10 European Countries. Neuroepidemiology 48:9-20
Bendayan, Rebecca; Kuh, Diana; Cooper, Rachel et al. (2017) Associations of Childhood and Adulthood Cognition with Bone Mineral Density in Later Adulthood: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study. Front Aging Neurosci 9:241
Denier, Nicole; Clouston, Sean A P; Richards, Marcus et al. (2017) Retirement and Cognition: A Life Course View. Adv Life Course Res 31:11-21
Dodge, Hiroko H; Zhu, Jian; Woltjer, Randy et al. (2017) Risk of incident clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease-type dementia attributable to pathology-confirmed vascular disease. Alzheimers Dement 13:613-623
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Clouston, Sean A P; Denier, Nicole (2017) Mental retirement and health selection: Analyses from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. Soc Sci Med 178:78-86
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Dodge, Hiroko H; Zhu, Jian; Hughes, Tiffany F et al. (2017) Cohort effects in verbal memory function and practice effects: a population-based study. Int Psychogeriatr 29:137-148
Stephan, Blossom C M; Tang, Eugene; Muniz-Terrera, Graciela (2016) Composite risk scores for predicting dementia. Curr Opin Psychiatry 29:174-80

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