Psychological well-being at 52 years prospectively associated with cognitive function at 69 years

People around the world are living longer, and dementia has consequently become recognized as a public health priority in many countries. The Lancet Commission paper in 2017 collated a large body of medical research evidence that aims to address the dementia epidemic and following challenge for health and social care. It is estimated that as much as 35% of dementia cases could be prevented by targeting nine modifiable risk factors. However, relatively little is known about psychological well-being in this context.

Miharu Nakanishi, Chief Researcher of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, and her colleagues finds that psychological well-being at 52 years were prospectively associated with cognitive function at 69 years. The authors used data in women from the British 1946 birth cohort in the Medical Research Council's National Survey of Health and Development.

Recent studies suggest that specific domains of psychological well-being, including negative affect, positive affect, and purpose in life, are related to cognitive function in older adults. Using the cohort data, the authors finds that there was a significant association between greater personal growth and lower self-acceptance at 52 years, and better cognition at 69 years. This association is adequately robust to control for childhood cognitive ability, physical activity, and other variables among nine modifiable risk factors.

The present study would add new implications to the risk reduction messages by more attention to the health promotion of middle-aged women who face midlife crises.

Source:
Journal reference:

Nakanishi, M., et al. (2019) Midlife Psychological Well-Being and its Impact on Cognitive Functioning Later in Life: An Observational Study Using a Female British Birth Cohort. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190590.

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