Department of Public Health Sciences

Cognitive activity in older persons from a geographically defined population

Wilson, RS, DA Bennett, LA Beckett, MC Morris, DW Gilley, JL Bienias, PA Scherr and DA Evans

J. Gerontol. Ser. B-Psychol. Sci. Soc. Sci.. 1999. 54(3):P155-P160.

Patterns of cognitive activity, and their relation to cognitive function, were examined ill a geographically defined biracial population of persons aged 65 years and older. Persons (N = 6,162) were given cognitive performance tests and interviewed about their participation in common cognitive activities, like reading a newspaper. Overall, more frequent participation in cognitive activities was associated with younger age, more education, higher family income, female gender, and White race; participation in activities judged to be more cognitively intense was not strongly related to age, bat was associated with more education, higher family income, male gender, and White race. Substantial heterogeneity in activity patterns remained after accounting for demographic factors, however. In an analysis controlling for demographic variables, level of cognitive function on performance tests was positively related to composite measures of the frequency and intensity of cognitive activity. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess the relation of cognitive activity patterns to stability and change ill cognitive function in older persons.

Keywords: amyloid; aging; dementia; cortex; histochemistry; plaques; tangles, Alzheimers-disease Cerad; Apolipoprotein-e; Memory Impairment; Transgenic Mice; Pathological-changes; Senile Plaques; Neurofibrillary Tangles; Nondemented Subjects; Parkinsons- Disease; Precursor Protein, Prose Recall; Intelligence; Performance; Community; Adults; age

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