Individual and Additive Effects of Lifestyle Behaviors on Cognition: A Longitudinal Study

TitleIndividual and Additive Effects of Lifestyle Behaviors on Cognition: A Longitudinal Study
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsEisenstein, A
Number of Pages250
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, Health Sciences Center
CityChicago, IL
Thesis Type3484979
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Public Policy

Decreasing the incidence and prevalence of dementia is a national priority. An intervention with the potential to delay the average age of onset of Alzheimer's disease by just one year would greatly reduce the personal and societal costs associated with the disease. The series of proposed studies for this analysis will determine the extent to which a set of modifiable lifestyle behaviors that include physical, social, and cognitive activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption, are associated with multiple measures of cognition. The overall strategy is to examine the individual, interactive, and combined effects of these behaviors on a variety of cognitive outcome measures at 1-year and 7-years post-baseline, using multiple datasets derived from the health and retirement study. The datasets were derived from a sample of N=2037 respondents who completed surveys in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2008. Demographic and other health status measures will be controlled for. Findings revealed that demographic characteristics had the most consistent association with cognition across outcome measures and across years. Total mental status score was the most sensitive outcome measure of bivariate relations in both the 1-year and 7-year analyses. Lifestyle behaviors at baseline had more significant associations with cognitive scores in the 7-year than the 1-year analyses. Of all the behaviors analyzed, cognitive activity had a significant association with more cognitive outcomes and in more models than any other behavior, followed by alcohol consumption. When controlling for other behaviors, cognitive activity continued to stand out above the others as being a significant predictor of cognitive outcomes. These findings begin to clarify the associations between behavioral risk factors and subsequent cognitive performance among older adults. The findings suggest that a lifestyle including cognitive activity and moderate alcohol consumption, more than any other behavior or a combination of behaviors, may result in promoting cognitive health for both the short-term and long-term. This work highlights the differing conclusions that can be drawn based on the outcome measure use, the time between measurement of predictors and outcomes, and the extent of covariates accounted for.

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Short TitleIndividual and Additive Effects of Lifestyle Behaviors on Cognition: A Longitudinal Study
Citation Key6284