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Am J Epidemiol. 2011 May 1;173(9):1004-12. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq476. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Cognitive lifestyle and long-term risk of dementia and survival after diagnosis in a multicenter population-based cohort.

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Brain and Ageing Research Program, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


An active cognitive lifestyle has been linked to dementia incidence and survival, but the separate and combined effects of its subcomponents are not clear. Data were derived from the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study, a population-based study of 13,004 individuals in England and Wales first interviewed in 1991-1992 and followed over a 10-year period for dementia incidence and 12 years for mortality. A Cognitive Lifestyle Score (CLS), defined as a composite of cognitive activity including education, occupational complexity, and social engagement, was available for 12,600 individuals in 3 stages of life. A higher CLS was protective of dementia (odds ratio = 0.6, 95% confidence interval: 0.4, 0.9). Sensitivity analyses found this main effect to be reliable and replicable even when considering just 2 components of the score, either education and occupation or education and late-life social engagement. No single CLS factor was associated with dementia incidence on its own. Survival differences did not reach statistical significance. Our data suggest that more years of education, as well as further stimulatory experiences in either midlife or late life. are necessary for a protective link with dementia incidence. There was little evidence of an effect of cognitive lifestyle on survival after dementia diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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