The Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA) study provides a unique opportunity to examine genetic and environmental influences on early cognitive change and associated risk factors. In VETSA 2, we propose our first 5-6 year follow-up of a large, age-homogenous sample that was middle-aged (50s) at baseline. Longitudinal studies of cognitive aging have employed cohort-sequential designs with age-heterogeneous samples that are usually weighted toward older subjects. There is solid evidence of change in midlife to early old age, but because mean change does tend to be modest, increased ability to examine individual differences is key. While no single design can provide all the answers, our novel design does enhance the ability to study differences in within-individual change patterns. By focusing on midlife, our design also has increased potential to identify early predictors of cognitive decline. Moreover, we are including an objective measure of allocation of cognitive effort that will be an important indicator, even in the absence of performance changes. We will follow 720 middle-aged twin pairs (1440 individuals) 5-6 years after collection of baseline neurocognitive, biomedical, and psychosocial data. Mean age at our VETSA 2 follow-up will be 60 (57-66). Applications from 2 Principal Investigators (Kremen, UCSD;Lyons, Boston Univ.) comprise a single integrated project. Our focus is to characterize genetic and environmental influences on early age-related changes in cognitive effort and performance (Aims 1, 2), and to examine major factors that mediate or moderate those changes: APOE [Aim 3];other biomedical risks [Aim 4];lifestyle/psychosocial factors [Aim 5]).
Aims are: 1) Characterize genetic and environmental influences on cognitive change over time (and specific component processes driving change);2) Investigate cognitive efficiency (i.e., ratio of performance to effortful resource allocation [based on task-evoked pupillary responses]) as a key cognitive aging process;3) Examine the relationship of APOE genotype to changes in cognitive function over time;4) Elucidate biomedical risk factors related to cognition and identify specific health risk factors that best predict cognitive aging (with multivariate genetic models not previously used);5) Examine lifestyle and psychosocial factors related to cognitive aging. We will obtain comprehensive assessments in multiple domains, utilize a novel approach that integrates the twin method with experimental/neuroscience approaches of parsing cognitive component processes, and use a cost-effective psychophysiological method (pupillometry) to measure cognitive effort.

Public Health Relevance

VETSA 2 builds upon the unique resource of VETSA 1 and creates an invaluable resource for the study of change from midlife (an under-studied area) to early old age, and for understanding the interplay of biological and environmental factors that are key early predictors of declining or successful aging. The VETSA 2 project builds upon the unique resource of VETSA 1 and creates an invaluable resource for the study of midlife (an under-studied area) and for understanding the interplay of biological and environmental factors that are key determinants of successful aging.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01AG018386-10
Application #
8318669
Study Section
Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section (BGES)
Program Officer
King, Jonathan W
Project Start
2000-07-01
Project End
2014-08-31
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$734,799
Indirect Cost
$159,001
Name
University of California San Diego
Department
Psychiatry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
804355790
City
La Jolla
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92093
Jak, Amy J; Panizzon, Matthew S; Spoon, Kelly M et al. (2015) Hippocampal atrophy varies by neuropsychologically defined MCI among men in their 50s. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 23:456-65
Kremen, William S; Jak, Amy J; Panizzon, Matthew S et al. (2014) Early identification and heritability of mild cognitive impairment. Int J Epidemiol 43:600-10
Panizzon, Matthew S; Vuoksimaa, Eero; Spoon, Kelly M et al. (2014) Genetic and Environmental Influences of General Cognitive Ability: Is g a valid latent construct? Intelligence 43:65-76
Kremen, William S; Panizzon, Matthew S; Franz, Carol E et al. (2014) Genetic complexity of episodic memory: a twin approach to studies of aging. Psychol Aging 29:404-17
Eyler, Lisa T; Vuoksimaa, Eero; Panizzon, Matthew S et al. (2014) Conceptual and data-based investigation of genetic influences and brain asymmetry: a twin study of multiple structural phenotypes. J Cogn Neurosci 26:1100-17
Panizzon, Matthew S; Hauger, Richard; Xian, Hong et al. (2014) Interaction of APOE genotype and testosterone on episodic memory in middle-aged men. Neurobiol Aging 35:1778.e1-8
Franz, Carol E; Lyons, Michael J; Spoon, Kelly M et al. (2014) Post-traumatic stress symptoms and adult attachment: a 24-year longitudinal study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 22:1603-12
Kremen, William S; Jak, Amy J; Panizzon, Matthew S et al. (2014) Authors' response to: commentary by Johnson et al. Int J Epidemiol 43:612-3
Moore, Caitlin S; Grant, Michael D; Zink, Tyler A et al. (2014) Erectile dysfunction, vascular risk, and cognitive performance in late middle age. Psychol Aging 29:163-72
Rana, Brinda K; Dhamija, Anish; Panizzon, Matthew S et al. (2014) Imputing observed blood pressure for antihypertensive treatment: impact on population and genetic analyses. Am J Hypertens 27:828-37

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