|Dynamic latent variable models for the analysis of cognitive abilities in the elderly population.
|Year of Publication
|Bianconcini, S, Cagnone, S
|Statistics in Medicine
|generalized linear latent variable models, health mental status, intractable likelihood, vector autoregressive process
Cognitive functioning is a key indicator of overall individual health. Identifying factors related to cognitive status, especially in later life, is of major importance. We concentrate on the analysis of the temporal evolution of cognitive abilities in the elderly population. We propose to model the individual cognitive functioning as a multidimensional latent process that accounts also for the effects of individual-specific characteristics (gender, age, and years of education). The proposed model is specified within the generalized linear latent variable framework, and its efficient estimation is obtained using a recent approximation technique, called dimensionwise quadrature. It provides a fast and streamlined approximate inference for complex models, with better or no degradation in accuracy compared with standard techniques. The methodology is applied to the cognitive assessment data from the Health and Retirement Study combined with the Asset and Health Dynamic study in the years between 2006 and 2010. We evaluate the temporal relationship between two dimensions of cognitive functioning, that is, episodic memory and general mental status. We find a substantial influence of the former on the evolution of the latter, as well as evidence of severe consequences on both cognitive abilities among less-educated and older individuals.