|A comparison of cognitive performances based on differing rates of DNA methylation GrimAge acceleration among older men and women.
|Year of Publication
|O'Shea, DM, Alaimo, H, Davis, JD, Galvin, JE, Tremont, G
|Neurobiology & Aging
|Aging, Cognition, DNA Methylation, Executive function, GrimAge, Memory, sex/gender differences
Cognitive heterogeneity increases with age rendering sex differences difficult to identify. Given established sex differences in biological aging, we examined whether comparisons of men and women on neuropsychological test performances differed as a function of age rate. Data were obtained from 1921 adults enrolled in the 2016 wave of the Health and Retirement Study. The residual from regressing the DNA methylation GrimAge clock on chronological age was used as the measure of aging rate. Slow and fast age rates were predefined as 1 standard deviation below or above the sex-specific mean rates, respectively. ANCOVAs were used to test group differences in test performances. Pairwise comparisons revealed that slow aging men outperformed fast aging women (and vice versa) on measures of executive function/speed, visual memory and semantic fluency; however, when groups were matched by aging rates, no significant differences remained. In contrast, women, regardless of their aging rates, education or depressive symptoms maintained their advantage on verbal learning and memory. Implications for research on sex differences in cognitive aging are discussed.