Cognitively Stimulating Activities: Effects on Cognition across Four Studies with up to 21 Years of Longitudinal Data

dc.contributor.authorMitchell, Meghan B.
dc.contributor.authorCimino, Cynthia R.
dc.contributor.authorBenitez, Andreana
dc.contributor.authorBrown, Cassandra L.
dc.contributor.authorGibbons, Laura E.
dc.contributor.authorKennison, Robert F.
dc.contributor.authorShirk, Steven D.
dc.contributor.authorAtri, Alireza
dc.contributor.authorRobitaille, Annie
dc.contributor.authorMacDonald, Stuart W.S.
dc.contributor.authorLindwall, Magnus
dc.contributor.authorZelinski, Elizabeth M.
dc.contributor.authorWillis, Sherry L.
dc.contributor.authorSchaie, K. Warner
dc.contributor.authorJohansson, Boo
dc.contributor.authorDixon, Roger A.
dc.contributor.authorMungas, Dan M.
dc.contributor.authorHofer, Scott M.
dc.contributor.authorPiccinin, Andrea M.
dc.description.abstractEngagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been considered to maintain or strengthen cognitive skills, thereby minimizing age-related cognitive decline. While the idea that there may be a modifiable behavior that could lower risk for cognitive decline is appealing and potentially empowering for older adults, research findings have not consistently supported the beneficial effects of engaging in cognitively stimulating tasks. Using observational studies of naturalistic cognitive activities, we report a series of mixed effects models that include baseline and change in cognitive activity predicting cognitive outcomes over up to 21 years in four longitudinal studies of aging. Consistent evidence was found for cross-sectional relationships between level of cognitive activity and cognitive test performance. Baseline activity at an earlier age did not, however, predict rate of decline later in life, thus not supporting the concept that engaging in cognitive activity at an earlier point in time increases one's ability to mitigate future age-related cognitive decline. In contrast, change in activity was associated with relative change in cognitive performance. Results therefore suggest that change in cognitive activity from one's previous level has at least a transitory association with cognitive performance measured at the same point in time.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThe research was supported in part by the Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging (IALSA) research network (NIA AG026453, S. M. Hofer and A. M. Piccinin, PIs) and the Conference on Advanced Psychometric Methods in Cognitive Aging Research (NIA R13AG030995, D. M. Mungas, PI). Dr. Mitchell is supported by a VA Advanced Fellowship in Geriatrics through the New England Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). Dr. L. E. Gibbons was supported by a Grant from the NIH (AG05136, Murray Raskind, PI). Drs. A. Atri, S. D. Shirk and M. B. Mitchell were supported by NIA Grant AG027171 (A. Atri, PI). Dr. M. Lindwall was supported by the Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports (CIF). The LBLS was funded by NIA Grants AG10569 and AG00037 (E.M. Zelinski, PI). The Octo-Twin study was funded by NIA AG08861 (B. Johansson, PI). SLS was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD00367, 1963–1965; HD04476, 1970–1973) and the National Institute of Aging (AG00480, 1973–1979; AG03544, 1982–1986; AG04470, 1984–1989; AG08055, 1980–2006; AG027759, 2006–2008; currently AG024102, 2005–2015; S. L. Willis, PI). The VLS is currently funded by NIA grant AG008235 (R. A. Dixon, PI).en_US
dc.identifier.citationMitchell, M.B., Cimino, C.R., Benitez, A., Brown, C.L., Gibbons, L.E., Kennison, R.F. … Piccinin (2012). Cognitively Stimulating Activities: Effects on Cognition across Four Studies with up to 21 Years of Longitudinal Data. Journal of Aging Research, 2012, 12 pages.
dc.publisherJournal of Aging Researchen_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada*
dc.titleCognitively Stimulating Activities: Effects on Cognition across Four Studies with up to 21 Years of Longitudinal Dataen_US


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