Low cognitive ability during adolescence predicts dementia in later life

Monday, October 8, 2018

The odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia (ADRD) as an adult are higher for individuals who, as adolescents, demonstrate lower cognitive abilities in areas such as language and reasoning. In a population-based cohort study, researchers found that increased odds of later-life ADRD for men are associated with lower mechanical reasoning in adolescence, whereas increased odds for women are associated with lower memory for words. Other measures of cognitive ability, related to language, visualization, and aptitudes for mathematics, are also associated with higher odds but the link is weaker. The study examined a sample of 43,014 men and 42,749 women using sociobehavioural data collected from high school students in the 1960s linked to Medicare claims in 2012/2013. The authors conclude that specific measures of cognitive ability in adolescence can help identify subgroups at risk of ADRD in later life who may benefit from early interventions to promote positive health behaviours and build cognitive reserve.

SOURCE: JAMA Network Open, September 2018
https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.1726   

DATE Retrieved: October 4, 2018

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