Midlife Cognitive Functioning & Cognitive Decline in Old Age Sherry L. Willis K. Warner Schaie The Pennsylvania State University
Three Questions: • Is there Variability in Cognitive Functioning in Midlife? • Is Midlife Cognitive Trajectory associated with Neuropsychological Performance in Old Age? • Does Midlife Cognitive Trajectory vary for those rated as Normal vs Cognitively Impaired in Old Age?
Sample: Seattle Longitudinal Study • N = 456 SLS Participants with Cognitive data in Midlife (46-60) and Old Age (67+) • M = 198; F = 258 • Educational level: • < 12 years 21% • 13 - 15 years 29% • 16+ years 48%
Cognitive Variables These variables have been shown to be precursors of cognitive decline and impairment in Old Age: • Episodic Memory • Delayed Recall • Executive Functioning • Word Fluency • Speed of Processing • Psychomotor Speed
Description of Measures • Delayed List Recall (Episodic memory) • Participants recall a list of 20 words after one-hour of intervening activities • Word Fluency (Executive Functioning • Participants recall as many words following a lexical rule (beginning with “s”) in 5 minutes • Psychomotor Speed • Participants must copy a paragraph containing some words starting with capital letters, some words totally in capitals, some words in lower case. Second task is giving synonyms and then antonyms to list of 40 words
Question 1: Is there Variability in Cognitive Functioning in Midlife (46 - 60 years)?
Variability in Cognitive Functioning in Midlife: Psychomotor Speed
Question 2: Are Midlife Cognitive Trajectories associated with Neuropsychological Performance in Old Age?
Performance on Neuropsychological Memory Measures in Old Age by Midlife Change Status on Delayed Recall
Performance on WAIS Digit Symbol in Old Age by Midlife Change Status on Psychomotor Speed
Question 3 Does Midlife Cognitive Trajectory vary for those rated as Normal vs Cognitive Impaired in Old Age?
Midlife Change in SLS Abilities for Those Rated Normal vs Cognitively Impaired in Old Age
Midlife Change in Delayed Recall for ThoseRated Normal vs Impaired in Old Age