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Individuals from longevity families show slower cognitive decline

If people come from a family that spends their old age on a daily basis, they may have better cognitive function (the ability to think, learn, and remember) than their family members who die young. Researchers in the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) have recently been working on GerontologyPeople in longevity families also suggest that they exhibit slow cognitive decline over time.

The Long Life Family Study has enrolled more than 5,000 participants from about 600 families and has been following them for the last 15 years. This study is unique in that it enrolls individuals who belong to a family with a group of long-lived relatives. Since 2006, LLFS has been recruiting participants from two groups: longevity siblings (also known as proband generations) and their children. The spouses of these two groups are also registered with LLFS as reference groups because they share lifestyle and environmental factors.

To assess cognitive abilities, researchers conducted a series of assessments aimed at testing various thinking areas such as attention, executive function, and memory twice at intervals of approximately 8 years. It was carried out in. This allows researchers to ask whether individuals in longevity families have better baseline cognitive abilities than their spouses, and whether their cognition declines more slowly than their spouses. It was.

To study this question, LLFS researchers used a model to determine changes in the scores of several neuropsychological tests from one visit to the next. “This model allows us to assess both the cross-sectional effects of family lifespan on baseline visits and the longitudinal effects over the follow-up period,” said a collaborative doctoral student in biostatistics at Boston University School of Public Health. The lead author, Mengtian Du, said. ..

They showed that individuals in longevity families were superior to their spouses in two tests: participants matched symbols to their corresponding numbers and went to psychomotor processing speed, attention, and working memory. Symbol coding tests, and paragraph recall tests that provide insights into. Have participants remember a short story and evaluate episodic memory. LLFS researchers also found that younger individuals (participants born after 1935) had a slower rate of cognitive decline on symbol coding tests than their spouses.

This finding of slow slowdowns is particularly pronounced because the younger generation is relatively young with an average age of 60 years, so these differences may not be due to neurodegenerative diseases. Rather, we are detecting differences in normal cognitive aging. “

Dr. Stacy Andersen, Corresponding author, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Boston University

According to Andersen, this suggests that people with longevity in the family show resilience to cognitive aging. “By studying the LLFS family, we can learn about the genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle habits that are essential for optimizing cognitive health throughout life.”


Journal reference:

Andersen SL, et al. (2021) The slow decrease in processing speed is related to the life of the family. Gerontology.

Individuals from longevity families show slower cognitive decline

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