Karr et al., 2018. When does cognitive decline begin?

Karr, J. E., Graham, R. B., Hofer, S. M., & Muniz-Terrera, G. (2018). When does cognitive decline begin? A systematic review of change point studies on accelerated decline in cognitive and neurological outcomes preceding mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and death. Psychology and Aging, 33(2), 195-218.

Year: 
2018
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

Older adults who ultimately develop dementia experience accelerated cognitive decline long before diagnosis. A similar acceleration in cognitive decline occurs in the years before death as well. To evaluate preclinical and terminal cognitive decline, past researchers have incorporated change points in their analyses of longitudinal data, identifying point estimates of how many years prior to diagnosis or death that decline begins to accelerate. The current systematic review aimed to summarize the published literature on preclinical and terminal change points in relation to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia, and death, identifying the order in which cognitive and neurological outcomes decline and factors that modify the onset and rate of decline. A systematic search protocol yielded 35 studies, describing 16 longitudinal cohorts, modeling change points for cognitive and neurological outcomes preceding MCI, dementia, or death. Change points for cognitive abilities ranged from 3–7 years prior to MCI diagnosis, 1–11 years prior to dementia diagnosis, and 3–15 years before death. No sequence of decline was observed preceding MCI or death, but the following sequence was tentatively accepted for Alzheimer’s disease: verbal memory, visuospatial ability, executive functions and fluency, and last, verbal IQ. Some of the modifiers of the onset and rate of decline examined by previous researchers included gender, education, genetics, neuropathology, and personality. Change point analyses evidence accelerated decline preceding MCI, dementia, and death, but moderators of the onset and rate of decline remain ambiguous due to between-study modeling differences, and coordinated analyses may improve comparability across future studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

 

Clouston et al., 2014. The Dynamic Relationship Between Physical Function and Cognition in Longitudinal Aging Cohorts

Clouston, S., Brewster, P., Kuh, D., Richards, M., Cooper, R., Hardy, R., Rubin, M., & Hofer, S. M. (2013). The dynamic relationship between physical function and cognition in longitudinal aging cohorts: A systematic review. Epidemiologic Reviews. Published online 2013 January 24.  doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxs004.

Year: 
2013
Status: 
complete
Abstract: 

On average, older people remember less and walk more slowly than do younger persons. Some researchers argue that this is due in part to a common biologic process underlying age-related declines in both physical and cognitive functioning. Only recently have longitudinal data become available for analyzing this claim. We conducted a systematic review of English-language research published between 2000 and 2011 to evaluate the relations between rates of change in physical and cognitive functioning in older cohorts. Physical functioning was assessed using objective measures: walking speed, grip strength, chair rise time, flamingo stand time, and summary measures of physical functioning. Cognition was measured using mental state examinations, fluid cognition, and diagnosis of impairment. Results depended on measurement type: Change in grip strength was more strongly correlated with mental state, while change in walking speed was more strongly correlated with change in fluid cognition. Examining physical and cognitive functioning can help clinicians and researchers to better identify individuals and groups that are aging differently and at different rates. In future research, investigators should consider the importance of identifying different patterns and rates of decline, examine relations between more diverse types of measures, and analyze the order in which age-related declines occur.