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Alzheimers Dement. 2006 Jan;2(1):12-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2005.11.004.

The NIH Cognitive and Emotional Health Project. Report of the Critical Evaluation Study Committee.

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Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis, IN, USA.



The Cognitive and Emotional Health Project (CEHP) seeks to identify the demographic, social, and biological determinants of cognitive and emotional health in the older adult. As part of the CEHP, a critical evaluation study committee was formed to assess the state of epidemiological research on demographic, social, and biological determinants of cognitive and emotional health.


Criteria for inclusion in the survey were large cohort studies, longitudinal in design, participants predominantly 65 years or older, with measurements of both cognition and emotion, and information on a wide variety of demographic, psychosocial, and biological factors. North American and European studies, which met these criteria, were selected for the review. Outcome measures included cognition, cognitive decline, and cognitive function. For emotion, symptoms included depression and anxiety, positive and negative affect, subjective well being, mastery, and resilience.


Ninety-six papers were identified that addressed cognitive and emotional outcomes. A large variety of risk factors were consistently identified with cognitive outcomes, particularly those previously associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. There was considerable overlap between risk factors for cognitive and emotional outcomes.


This review identifies a large number of lifestyle and health behaviors that alter the risk for maintenance of cognitive and emotional health. Large longitudinal cohort studies are a unique source to explore factors associated with cognitive and emotional health. Secondary analyses of these studies should be encouraged as should the development of standardized questionnaires to measure cognitive and emotional health. Future research in this field should study cognitive and emotional health simultaneously.


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