Within-Person Dynamics between Lifestyle Factors and Cognitive Functioning using Accelerometer-Determined Physical Activity and Mobile Cognitive Assessments




Vendittelli, Rebecca

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The Canadian population is fundamentally changing such that the proportion of seniors is expected to be one in four by 2030 (Government of Canada, 2014). This shift will undoubtedly be accompanied by a surge in the prevalence of age-related health issues, including cognitive decline and dementia. Compounded by increased life expectancy, this demographic change is expected to overwhelm the health care system (Wister & Speechley, 2015) and have grave economic impact (Wimo et al., 2013, 2017). As such, researchers have endeavoured to find innovative and efficient solutions that are preventative, rather than reactive. Lifestyle interventions, such as physical activity (PA) and stress reduction, have gained ample support for their role in protecting against cognitive decline. In tandem, digital cognitive assessment tools have also been developed to support the anticipated demand for efficient screening. Also known as mobile assessments, this state-of-the-art technology can simultaneously assess contextual, psychosocial, and lifestyle factors along with cognition. In this way, a nuanced understanding of the temporal association between cognition and lifestyles variables may be explored. To date, however, there is little research examining these relationships. Chapter 1 reviews psychometric evidence for mobile cognitive assessments and their efficacy in measuring cognitive functioning and daily variability, as well as provides results of a psychometric replication study. Both Chapters 2 (focusing on PA) and 3 (focusing on stress) look at between-person and within-person differences regarding how these lifestyle factors influence cognitive performance. More specifically, Chapter 2 presents results on the relationship between daily variation in PA and cognition, and Chapter 3 examines the relationship between momentary and daily stress and cognition. Chapter 4 provides a brief summary of potential clinical implications for advances in mobile and remote cognitive assessments and potential for lifestyle interventions.