The Role of Polygenic Score and Cognitive Activity in Cognitive Functioning among Older Adults

TitleThe Role of Polygenic Score and Cognitive Activity in Cognitive Functioning among Older Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsShin, SHyun, Park, S, Wright, C, D’astous, VAnne, Kim, G
ISBN Number0016-9013
KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease, Cognition, Cognitively Stimulating Activity, Genetics

This study explored whether the intensity of cognitive activities could moderate the relationship between a genetic predisposition for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive functioning among older adults in the U.S. Further, we examined whether the same moderating effects were dependent on different measures of cognition.We used a dataset from the 2000-2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study and the Consumption and Activities Mail Survey. Our sample included 3,793 individuals aged 50 or older. We used the polygenic score (PGS) for AD as a genetic trait for cognitive functioning. Reading, listening to music, using a computer, playing cards/games/solving puzzles, singing/playing musical instruments, and creating art and crafts were included as cognitive activities, and TV viewing as passive activities. We used total cognition, fluid intelligence, and crystallized intelligence as proxies for cognitive functioning. Growth-curve models were conducted.After controlling for covariates, we found that reading books, using a computer, and playing cards/games/solving puzzles had a positive effect on cognitive functioning. An additional hour spent reading books moderated the negative effect of AD PGS on cognition. The measure of fluid, when compared with crystallized intelligence, appeared to drive these results.Reading could be a protective factor against cognitive decline among older adults who are genetically predisposed to developing AD. Implications for individuals, caregivers, clinicians, and policymakers are suggested. Furthermore, the onset of AD in those at a greater genetic risk may be delayed with this intervention.

Citation Key10862
PubMed ID32564085